JAMIE HILL - Sunday, November 27, 2011
US national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann has griped that the MLS season is too short, hampering the development of domestic players and allowing potential national team candidates to fall out of form and fitness over the off-season.
In order to rectify this issue, Klinsmann has been proactive as a matchmaker between up-and-coming MLS talent and European clubs. The German legend has used his connections in Europe to set up training stints for a group of Americans in MLS, most of whom are young players eligible for the U23 team.
Juan Agudelo (Stuttgart)
Kyle Beckerman (Kaiserslautern)
Perry Kitchen (Freiburg)
Zach Pfeffer (Hoffenheim)
Robbie Rogers (Kaiserslautern)
Bill Hamid (West Bromwich Albion)
Sean Johnson (Manchester United)
Jeff Larentowicz (Bolton Wanderers)
Omar Salgado (Fulham)
Brek Shea (Arsenal)
While the difference between a training session and a trial can be simply a matter of semantics, it is likely that the lion's share of these players will return to MLS for the 2012 season. One player unlikely to do so is Robbie Rogers, who is out of contract and interested in testing the waters in Europe.
Other players have turned down the opportunity to train overseas. FC Dallas defender George John opted to rest after a grueling season in which he and his club faded down the stretch. Meanwhile, Kansas City forward Teal Bunbury is reportedly mulling an offer to train with Bolton.