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USMNT: European-based stars return; players readmitted as COVID restrictions change

Yunus Musah's decision to commit to the U.S. national team has American soccer fans thrilled, but Joe Prince-Wright, Nick Mendola and Andy Edwards advise caution when projecting too much onto the 18-year-old.

Gregg Berhalter has recalled the vast majority of the USMNT European-based stars, including Christian Pulisic, Sergino Dest and John Brooks, for the first senior-team camp of 2021.

[ MORE: Sergino Dest: “USMNT have to set a new standard” ]

There have also been some players who can only join up with the team in certain locations, as Nicholas Gioacchini had to withdraw from the original squad but has now been readmitted due to COVID-19 restrictions changing in a very fluid situation across Europe, and the world, right now.

USMNT trio Chris Richards, Gio Reyna and Josh Sargent, who all play in Germany, were all due to leave the camp after the USMNT’s first game against Jamaica in Austria, but they are now permitted to travel to Northern Ireland for the second game too.

However, Tyler Adams is not able to travel for either game as he is based in Leipzig and Tim Weah is also not able to travel due to new lockdown restrictions in northern France where he is based with Lille.

The USMNT will face Jamaica on Thursday in Austria, followed three days later by a trip to Belfast to face Northern Ireland for the first time in 70 years.

Only two players — Brooks and Reggie Cannon — will depart camp following the game against Jamaica as they face strict COVID-19 quarantine requirements upon returning to the countries of their respective clubs.

Berhalter revealed in his press conference that the abbreviated availability of further players — namely, Matthew Hoppe and DeAndre Yedlin — was decisive in his final decision to not call them into camp.

[ MORE: Five things to know as USMNT’s U-23s aim to qualify for Olympics ]

Weston McKennie was left out of the squad due to a “slight injury,” according to Berhalter, who lamented the fact the Juventus star won’t be leading the group next week.

Other notable players selected include 18-year-old Yunus Musah, who last week pledged his international future to the USMNT, striker Josh Sargent, who has four goals in his last eight Bundesliga games, and 20-year-old midfielder Brenden Aaronson, who has hit the ground running since joining Red Bull Salzburg in January.

Full USMNT squad

GOALKEEPERS (3): Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge/BEL; 4/0), Chituru Odunze (Leicester City/ENG; 0/0), Zack Steffen (Manchester City/ENG; 19/0)

DEFENDERS (10): John Brooks* (Wolfsburg/GER; 39/3), Reggie Cannon* (Boavista/POR; 13/0), Sergiño Dest (Barcelona/ESP; 5/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 19/3), Matt Miazga (Anderlecht/BEL; 20/1), Erik Palmer-Brown (Austria Wien/AUT; 2/0), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 41/1), Bryan Reynolds (Roma/ITA; 0/0), Chris Richards (Hoffenheim/GER; 1/0), Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG; 8/0)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg/AUT; 2/1), Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; 25/2), Christian Cappis (Hobro/DEN; 0/0), Luca de la Torre (Heracles/NED; 1/0), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 18/4), Yunus Musah (Valencia/ESP; 2/0), Owen Otasowie (Wolverhampton Wanderers/ENG; 1/0)

FORWARDS (6): Daryl Dike (Barnsley/ENG; 1/0), Nicholas Gioacchini (Caen/FRA; 2/2), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 34/14), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 2/1), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen/GER; 12/5), Jordan Siebatcheu (Young Boys/SUI; 0/0)

*indicates player will depart after game v. Jamaica in Austria

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