BRIAN SCIARETTA - Tuesday, August 9, 2011
As the US national team prepares to begin the Jurgen Klinsmann era, one player who is aiming to establish himself with the team is Brek Shea.
Shea, 21, received the call last week from Klinsmann and is excited to be part of the national team again.
"Jurgen called me and I was very excited," Shea told YA. "I've always known about him but that was the first time I've ever spoken with him. He called me and told me he wanted to bring me in for the game against Mexico."
Shea has been capped twice by the US national team. His first cap was against Colombia last October and his second was in January against Chile.
The reviews for his play were mixed. In the first game against Colombia, Shea was taken out at halftime after an ineffective first half. In his second game against Chile, he was improved but still did not show the explosiveness he displayed in MLS as the speed of the game seemed to be too fast for him.
"Yeah, it was a lot faster than the MLS," Shea explained. "It's faster than I'm used to, but at the same time it's not as fast as you think it is."
This season, however, has lead to heightened expectations as he has emerged as one of the league's best players. Shea is ready to prove to Klinsmann and the American fans that he is now ready to become an important part of the team moving forward towards the 2014 World Cup.
"I've learned to have a lot more composure on the ball," Shea discussed. "It's helped a lot with my game. I feel that if I get a chance to play, it'll show a lot more than it did in my previous international appearances."
"It's more experience and being more mature. Soccer is also a lot about confidence and that all plays a part."
Shea is optimistic not just for his own personal international future but also for the future of the US team under new head coach Jurgen Klinsmann who he feels will be very different from his predecessor.
"I think he's very different than Bob," Shea discussed. "I didn't know Bob very well but I think [Jurgen] will be very different in his style of play. I saw what he did with Germany and a little bit with Bayern. I think he's very dynamic with game plan and his speed of play. I'm excited to see what he's going to do with us."
Despite the excitement over Klinsmann, Shea had very good words to say about Bob Bradley who he said taught him a lot about the international game.
Earlier this year, Shea was part of the annual January camp that was together for more than three weeks. During that time, Bradley gave Shea some specific instruction that has helped him out to this day.
"I like Bob," Shea said. "When I was in January camp I learned a lot. I learned to be a wide player that could come inside so I wasn't as predictable."
Back in May, Shea signed a four-year contract extension with FC Dallas that runs through 2015. The long term deal ensures that he will remain with the MLS for the time being.
Shea has frequently been a topic of discussion among fans about perhaps being the next high profile American to move his career Europe. Shea admits that the decision was difficult but he is happy with how much he has developed at FC Dallas.
"Anytime you do anything with a contract it's difficult," Shea said of signing the extension. "But at the same time I am comfortable here in Dallas and they've done a lot for me. When I made the decision, I was very happy with what I did."
As for now, Shea is focused on Wednesday's game against the US national team's top rival. Shea is a native of Texas where the US-Mexico rivalry is intense. To be playing against Mexico under a new high-profile coach, the game has added meaning beyond a typical friendly.
"I couldn't be more excited for any other friendly, to be honest," Shea concluded. "I've always gone somewhere to watch these games. I get really excited whenever the US plays Mexico. I still can't believe that I'll be a part of one. I'm pretty excited."