Fans of the Mountaineers can rejoice in knowing that the Gold and Blue will be represented in the upcoming FIFA World Cup as Geoff Cameron was named to coach Jurgan Klinsmann’s U.S. Men’s National Team roster on May 22nd. Cameron, a native of Attleboro, MA, will be making his debut on the world’s biggest stage come June apart of one of the most hyped U.S. squads in quite some time. While this is quite the achievement for the 28 year old Stoke City defender, making the squad is only the beginning for the long, brutal list of battles he and his teammates face once the June tournament begins.
For starters, the U.S. were drawn into the tournament’s “group of death,” having to play the likes of Portugal, Germany, and Ghana in opening round action. Portugal and Germany are traditionally amongst the top 15 in FIFA’s world rankings, while Ghana’s been quite the thorn in the American’s side as of late, having emerged with upset victories over the stars and stripes the past two World Cups to send the USA home empty handed.
Also the U.S. will be without their all-time leading scorer, Landon Donovan, as he was left off the U.S. World Cup roster for the first time since the 1998 tournament. The decision to leave the 32 year old striker at home has been a major point of criticism towards both the U.S. soccer association, as well as toward the German-born Klinsmann, who has been in a major 2-3 year process of restructuring the team’s roster to help ensure this year’s team does not disappoint it’s fans with yet another early exit of the tournament.
How Cameron fits into all of this will be in helping speed up the maturing process of what looks to be one of the youngest defensive groups of all the nations in this year’s World Cup. Cameron, who spent two of his four seasons of collegiate ball in Morgantown, has the 2nd most amount of appearances for the U.S. national team on this squad headed to Brazil. He even has a goal in national team play, that coming in a 4-2 loss to Belgium last summer in an international friendly at Cleveland’s First Energy Stadium.
Along with the experience of playing and practicing for team USA, Cameron brings a great deal of world-class, international experience with him due to the fact that he plays his club soccer in one of the world’s most revered leagues, England’s Barclays Premier League. Currently, Cameron is only one of nine other U.S. national team players to play for a club side in a top-tier league in Europe. This past season, Cameron appeared in 41 matches, recording 2 surprise goals from the right-defensive back position to help Stoke finish in a much-improved 9th place in the Premier League standings.
No matter how things shake out for the American’s it shall be fun to see how the entire tournament plays out. More importantly, especially for those of Gold and Blue nation, just seeing a fellow Mountaineer out on the pitch, representing the red, white, and blue no less, is quite a refreshing, and welcomed change to the standard quo of just following the usual suspects of Messi, Ronaldo, and Balotelli.