USMNT December camp roster release, Walker Zimmerman called up

The US Men’s National Team announced the roster for their December camp on Friday. Head coach Gregg Berhalter has called up 26 players to the extended camp, culminating with a December 18 friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina at LA Galaxy’s Dignity Health Sports Park.

Detailed roster by position (Club; Caps/Goals)

Goalkeepers (3): John Pulskamp (Sporting Kansas City; 0/0), Gabriel Slonina (Chicago Fire; 0/0), Matt Turner (New England Revolution; 12/0)

Defenders (11): George Bello (Atlanta United; 5/0), Justin Che (FC Dallas; 0/0), Jonathan Gomez (Louisville City; 0/0), Kobi Henry (Orange County SC; 0/0), Henry Kessler (New England Revolution; 1/0, Brooks Lennon (Atlanta United; 0/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 21/3), Kevin Paredes (D.C. United; 0/0), Bryan Reynolds (Roma/ITA; 1/0), Auston Trusty (Colorado Rapids; 0/0), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; 22/2)

Midfielders (5): Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; 44/2), Cole Bassett (Colorado Rapids; 0/0), Johnny Cardoso (Internacional/BRA; 2/0), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders; 29/0), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes; 15/0)

Forwards (7): Taylor Booth (Bayern Munich II/GER; 0/0), Caden Clark (New York Red Bulls; 0/0), Cade Cowell (San Jose Earthquakes; 0/0), Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas; 4/2), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders; 39/10), Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas; 6/3), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew; 65/14)

Berhalter has never been afraid to give youth a chance, and this roster includes several exciting, high-potential young players.

17-year-old Gabriel Slonina became the youngest starting goalkeeper in MLS history in August, and earned the starting job for Chicago Fire down the stretch. He’s mature beyond his years, and at 6’4″ has all the physical traits to look for in a top goalkeeper.

Jonathan Gómez is an 18-year-old left back who spent the last two seasons with Louisville City in the USL Championship, the second division of American soccer. He won the USL Championship Young Player of the Year award in 2021 and will transfer to Spanish side Real Sociedad in January. He’s another high-potential young player, and has been pursued by the Mexican National team. Berhalter has been intentional about inviting young dual nationals into camps to get a feel for the program before making their final decision, and that appears to be the case with Gómez.

Kobi Henry is another intriguing name from the USL Championship. The 6’2″ central defender broke into the Orange County SC side last year, making 19 appearances this season for the eventual champions. Taylor Booth, Kevin Paredes and John Pulskamp round out the new faces to the squad, while Justin Che returns after taking part in the May 2021 camp.

From a Nashville perspective, Walker Zimmerman’s inclusion is anything but surprising. Recently crowned 2021 MLS Defender of the Year, the center back has been a standout of the recent World Cup qualifiers, and has seemingly worked his way into the first choice XI.

Aaron Long and Jordan Morris are two key players returning from injury. Morris tore his ACL in February while on loan with Swansea City, and made his return with Seattle Sounders in November. Long has been a regular starter under Berhalter, but ruptured his achilles in May and missed the entirety of the MLS season. He was with the squad for their November qualifiers while he continued his rehab, and his availability will be a major boost to the center back corps.

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