Union regulars Alejandro Bedoya, Keegan Rosenberry and Chris Pontius will join 29 other MLS players at the U.S. Men’s National Team’s annual camp on Jan. 10 in Carson, Calif.
“We’re excited for all three of them,” Union manager Jim Curtin said. “It’s a great accomplishment. We expect good things from all of them going into 2017.”
The least surprising name to join the camp for the Union is Bedoya, who has earned 53 caps over seven years with the USMNT. The national team starter was signed by the Union from FC Nantes in France during the second half of the 2016 season.
“He’s the seasoned U.S. National Team mainstay,” said Curtin, who mentioned how Bedoya’s experience will rub off on Rosenberry. “He’s called in every time they play a game, and Keegan is getting his first taste of it.”
Rosenberry, 23, takes another step in his skyrocketing career with the invite. After being selected third overall in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, Rosenberry, a right back, played every minute of the Union’s regular season, scoring two goals with two assists.
“Keegan’s big ambition was to be part of the national team,” Union sporting director Earnie Stewart said. “He was thinking in terms of years and years and it took one year.”
While a USMNT call-up is new for Rosenberry and old hat for Bedoya, it’s a pleasant surprise for eight-year MLS veteran Pontius. The 29-year-old attacking player trained with the national team from 2009 through 2011 but has yet to make a full cap. He’s coming off a career-best season — 12 goals and six assists in 33 games.
“He’s rejuvenated his career and gotten back in the national team,” Curtin said. “One of his goals when he sat down with Earnie and I was an X-amount of goals and an X-amount of assists and to get back into the U.S. National Team. To his credit, he accomplished that.”
The camp, which features all MLS players, was put together in part by new USMNT manager and former LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena, who also ran the program from 1998 to 2006. Unlike his predecessor Jurgen Klinsmann, who favored European-focused players, Arena was expected to lean more towards high-caliber MLS players, putting Rosenberry and Pontius on the list.
The camp will serve as a large part of Arena’s preparation for spring World Cup qualifiers.
“They can be there to support each other,” Curtin said. “January camp is a long one. The one thing I learned from that is players come back from the national team and it raises the level of training sessions. Those guys are always flying when they come back in.”