Three former Rangers players have been included in Jurgen Klinsmann’s 30 man roster competing to make the final squad of 23 for this summer’s World Cup. The United States National Team is currently participating in a two-week training camp that Klinsmann is using as an open competition for the right to board the plane to Brazil.
DaMarcus Beasley, Alejandro Bedoya & Maurice Edu are all in line to have the opportunity to make the final 23. All three players have overcome serious career setbacks that made their chances of making this team a real long shot & all three have fought back to earn the right to be considered for a relatively deep American squad.
Via The San Jose Mercury News, Beasley said, “This is the best team from experience and depth of players and the guys in their prime. It’s maybe the deepest national team we’ve ever had. There could have been 40 guys he could have brought in.”
Of the three, Beasley is probably the safest bet to be on the World Cup team. Beasley’s career has undergone a renaissance after spending the past three seasons playing in the Mexican league. He has since moved from the midfield to defense & he is in line to be the starting left back for the United States when the team begins the tournament vs. Ghana.
Beasley has been able to use his trademark speed to be a threat along the wing & to have the capacity to track back quickly. Given his slight size, many would have thought that he would struggle in the position, but Beasley has more than held his own throughout World Cup qualifying & has become one of Klinsmann’s most trusted players. After playing professionally for 14 years, Beasley has developed a footballing savvy & so much of his defensive success relies on his ability to read the play as it develops.
Beasley is out of contract with his Mexican team & is rumored to be seeking out a return to MLS after the World Cup.
It is doubtful that many Rangers supporters would have believed that Bedoya would be fighting for the right to go to the World Cup when he was struggling to even see the pitch during his lone season with Rangers. Bedoya bounced back from his failure in Scotland by returning to Sweden for a season & then by joining FC Nantes this past season.
Bedoya enjoyed a successful season in France, making 31 appearances & scoring six goals. Additionally ,Bedoya has become one of the more popular players amongst the Nantes supporters.
Brian Sciaretta described Bedoya’s popularity for American Soccer Now. “Bedoya, a consistent starter throughout the season for Nantes, became one of the team’s most dangerous offensive midfielders. He finished with six goals in all competitions but was always involved in the attack. He struggled a bit from January through March but ended the season playing well.”
“He has also become one of the most popular players among the fans. Recently he earned headlines with him leading the team with the ‘I believe we will win’ chant after every victory. Bedoya insists that that this all came about as part of an impromptu locker room celebration after he scored the winning goal.”
“The fans took notice and created an online campaign for him to lead the supporters in the chat at one of their games. Despite a loss on Saturday in the team’s final game, Bedoya obliged after the final whistle as a way to thank them for the season.”
The chant has been used by the American Outlaws supporters group for the past few years now & is becoming a staple in the American soccer culture.
Klinsmann addressed Bedoya’s season in France & his growth with the national team during the opening days of the team’s training camp. “Alejandro definitely had a very good season with Nantes in France, and also the fact that he went there in the first place, he stepped it up and became more mature.”
“He developed more drive and more consistency in his game and he showed that in his games with us as well.”
“He confirmed his learning curve at Nantes also within our environment. That’s big. When you play games against Paris Saint-Germaine, Olympique de Marseille, AS Monaco and you play well and you might even score or create chances against those teams, that’s great and makes us proud as well.”
“He’s taken a big step forward over the past 12 or 18 months and now comes another big step.”
Bedoya told Sciaretta, “It’s been a lot of ups and downs these four years, but I always kept my head up and I was always confident in my own abilities. I never took anything for granted. I’ve kind of reestablished my career back in good form and back at the top.”
“I feel a lot more confident in my place with the national team and hopefully I can take that into camp and make that plane trip to Brazil and make a difference in any way I can.”
Many observers feel that Klinsmann already knows his 23 man roster but Maurice Edu is currently embattled in the most legitimate battle for a final spot. Edu returned to the United States national team picture following a move to the Philadelphia Union & is currently in direct competition with veteran Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman for a ticket to Brazil.
The two are battling to back-up the starting duo of Michael Bradley (who scored that goal vs. Scotland) & Jermaine Jones. Beckerman has played well with Bradley in recent games & is seen to be on equal footing with Edu. Edu’s quickness & versaitilty may work in his favor but Beckerman has been a Klinsmann favorite ever since he took over as manager.
Brian Sciaretta evaluated the competition for American Soccer Now. “It’s possible to envision a scenario where both Beckerman and Edu make the World Cup roster—especially when you consider Jones’ tendency toward accumulating yellow cards. But the most likely case is that only one goes to Brazil.”
“At this point, Beckerman has the edge. He has done nothing to lose his spot on the team and has not had a bad game for the U.S. in over a year.”
“For Edu to make the plane, he will have to play very well in camp and prove to Klinsmann that his elite athleticism is an essential for facing teams like Ghana, Portugal, and Germany.”
Edu told Michael Wagaman of The Associated Press, “Being versatile helps your case in any team that you’re trying to be a part of.”
“If Klinsmann were to ask me to play center back, of course I would. I want this team to be as strong as possible.”
Edu’s fight to make it to the World Cup squad has been featured in a documentary produced by American Soccer Now & Arch Rivals.
The United States have two matches to play before the June 2nd deadline to trim the roster to 23. They will play Azerbaijan in San Francisco on May 27 & then Turkey on June 1st in the New York Red Bulls stadium.