Out of the 28 players that Jurgen Klinsmann decided to choose for his opening training camp for the U.S. men's national team, three should catch MAC fans' eyes.
Perry Kitchen (D.C. United) , Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids) and Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC) - all formerly of Akron- were selected to participate in the national team camp and each face the chance to impress Klinsmann and earn a call-up to the senior national team.
The camp will be held in Carson, Calif. and goes from Jan. 12-Feb. 8. The team will spend 12 days in Carson before traveling to Santiago in Chile for further training and to prepare for an international friendly against the Chileans.
The team be in Chile from Jan. 25-29 and face a very daunting task at the Estadio El Teniente in Rancagua on Jan. 28. Chile had a solid 2014 World Cup after finishing second in its group, behind the Netherlands -who grabbed third-place honors in the competition -before being knocked out by Brazil in the Round of 16.
The Chileans lost on penalties and felt hard done by after having an extremely positive World Cup campaign up to that point, so they will bring a lot of pressure onto a young U.S. squad when they meet.
The Stars and Stripes' camp will close with a friendly against Panama on Feb. 8 at StubHub Center in Carson. The game is set to kick-off at 1 p.m. PT and will be broadcast live on ESPN.
While Panama is hardly intense competition, Panama is currently ranked No. 55 in the world while the U.S. is ranked No. 27, they will not be nearly as challenging as Chile, who host stars such as Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal) and Arturo Vidal (Juventus).
Both games will be strong tests for the U.S., but the second game should be especially pertinent for the younger players.
The roster also includes seven veterans from last summer's World Cup including: Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Nick Rimando, Matt Besler, Mix Diskerud and Chris Wondolowski.
The camp will also showcase 14 players that will be fighting to earn their first cap for the senior team--Kitchen and Co. included. The team will also have 12 Olympic-age players who could play in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Hat tip to GoZips.com for the press release.