The United States men's national team's 24-man roster for their January camp has been announced, and it includes a mix of European and MLS-based prospects. Coached by interim manager Anthony Hudson, the team will play friendlies against Serbia on Jan. 25 and Colombia on Jan. 28 in Southern California. The roster includes six European-based players and two current free agents who are working on finding new clubs which will give them a chance to improve their fitness.
The battle for the futures of dual-nationals Alejandro Zendejas and Brandon Vazquez, who are both eligible to represent Mexico, seems to have been determined with them being included in the attacking core while defender Julian Gressel has now picked up American citizenship to represent the United States over Germany.
Led by core members like Walker Zimmerman, Kellyn Acosta and Paul Arriola, this young roster will be able to get great experience on the journey to potentially making the 2026 World Cup roster. Some players who were close to making the 2022 World Cup roster like Vazquez, John Tolkin, and Gabriel Slonina will be able to show why they can't miss out on another World Cup.
According to Hudson, this camp will be a time for building depth in the player pool.
"As we were putting this roster together, the focus has been around identifying positions within our team that would benefit from more depth," Hudson said. "And then given the time of year being a January camp, it gives us an opportunity to look at some real high-potential young players and also some players that have been on our radar for some time. This gives us an opportunity to look at them over the course of these two games."
Here's the roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Roman Celentano (FC Cincinnati; 0/0), Sean Johnson (Unattached; 10/0), Gaga Slonina (Chelsea/ENG; 0/0)
DEFENDERS (8): Jonathan Gómez (Real Sociedad/ESP; 1/0), Julian Gressel (Vancouver Whitecaps/CAN; 0/0), DeJuan Jones (New England Revolution; 0/0), Aaron Long (LAFC; 29/3), Jalen Neal (LA Galaxy; 0/0), Sam Rogers (Rosenborg/NOR; 0/0), John Tolkin (New York Red Bulls; 0/0), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; 37/3)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Paxten Aaronson (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER; 0/0), Kellyn Acosta (LAFC; 55/2), Aidan Morris (Columbus Crew; 0/0), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas; 1/0), Alan Soñora (Unattached; 0/0), Eryk Williamson (Portland Timbers; 4/0)
FORWARDS (7):Paul Arriola (FC Dallas; 48/10), Cade Cowell (San Jose Earthquakes; 1/0), Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas; 16/7), Matthew Hoppe (Middlesbrough/ENG; 6/1), Emmanuel Sabbi (Odense/DEN; 0/0), Brandon Vazquez (FC Cincinnati; 0/0), Alejandro Zendejas (Club America/MEX; 0/0)
For the European inclusions, Paxten Aaronson and Jonathan Gomez are key players to watch. With Gomez, a lack of depth at left-back and being able to use this camp as a springboard for the U-20 World Cup makes it a fantastic opporotunity. The camp is an important one as 30 players who have made their debut during this camp have gone on to make a World Cup roster for the United States, and there could be as many as 11 debutants this year.
The inclusion of Zendejas is something to watch due to him being eligible for the Olympics. Representing the United States at youth levels, there was a FIFA investigation into his eligibility, but he will be able to represent the United States. Able to play on either wing or as an attacking midfielder, Zendejas' star has been rising in Liga MX and he has six goals and two assists in 21 appearances this season with America.