USMNT coach Berhalter in San Antonio to discuss January roster, expectations for summer schedule

Roster announcement comes ahead of friendly against Slovenia in San Antonio

USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter speaks to the media at the Frost Bank Center in San Antonio, Texas, on Jan. 5, 2024. (KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter was in San Antonio Friday to announce the 25 players who will make up the roster for the team’s friendly against Slovenia on Jan. 20 at Toyota Field in the Alamo City.

Berhalter discussed the roster, which comprises entirely of MLS players, and answered questions from media at the Frost Bank Center.

“We’re really excited for this friendly against Slovenia,” Berhalter said. “We want to thank the city for hosting us, and we look forward to putting on a good show for all the fans.”

Tickets for the match have already set an attendance record for Toyota Field’s 8,000-seat capacity, a release from the federation said.

The roster for the USMNT’s January camp — nicknamed “Camp Cupcake” — traditionally includes younger, domestic-based players who are trying to break into the national team. That’s partially because the camp falls outside of an official FIFA international window.

This year is no different, with the roster missing marquee players like Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and Tim Weah and largely including players with little-to-no senior team caps. (See the full roster below.)

While the 25-player squad features mostly MLS youngsters, a few inclusions have considerable national team experience, including center back Miles Robinson, who recently signed for FC Cincinnati, holds the most caps at 27 and 3 goals, and full back Shaq Moore with 17 caps and 1 goal. Perhaps the most dangerous attacker on the roster is Cade Cowell of the San Jose Earthquakes, who has scored once for the senior team in eight appearances.

Eight players on the roster have at least one cap, with the remaining 17 not playing in a senior national team game yet.

“A lot of these guys are going to be contending for spots on the Olympic team,” Berhalter said. “It really will give us an opportunity to work with some younger athletes and really ingrain them into what it means to be a U.S. soccer player.”

The January training camp will run from Jan. 8-16 in Orlando, with the team returning to San Antonio for the match.

A return to San Antonio

The match marks the third time ever that the national team plays in San Antonio and the first since a 2-0 victory against Mexico at the Alamodome in 2015.

Slovenia — ranked 54th in FIFA world rankings — recently clinched qualification for the prestigious UEFA Euro qualifiers with 7 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss.

The match against Slovenia marks only the third time the USMNT will play in San Antonio and its first appearance at Toyota Field, a soccer-specific stadium that holds up to 8,000 fans and is home to San Antonio FC. It is only the second time the U.S. national team will play in a United Soccer League (USL) stadium (the second division of professional soccer in America.)

The friendly against Slovenia will kick off at 2 p.m. on Jan. 20 and will be broadcast by TNT, Max, Telemundo, Universo, and Peacock.

Tickets can be purchased via Ticketmaster.

Bexar County Judge Peter Sakai (left), Chief Legal Officer for the San Antonio Spurs Bobby Perez (center) and USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter (right) with the media at the Frost Bank Center in San Antonio, Texas, on Jan. 5, 2024. (KSAT)

For Copa America, ‘the first game is very important’

The camp comes as fans prepare for a stacked year for U.S. Soccer.

In March, the final four of the CONCACAF Nations League will begin play, and the USMNT will face Jamaica in the semifinal on March 21 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Then, in June, the team begins play in the prestigious Copa America tournament, bringing South American powerhouses like Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay to the United States next summer.

The press conference was one of his first since the Copa America group stage draw in December.

Joining the United States in Group C are Bolivia, Panama and Uruguay. The USMNT is currently ranked 12th in the world, behind Uruguay at 11th place, which is tied with Argentina for the most Copa America titles at 15.

Berhalter said that like any tournament, the first game is very important.

“It’s very important to get a win,” Berhalter said. “It’s certainly for us, you know, coming out and putting (on) a good performance in the first game is what we’re always focused on.”

With the U.S. facing 85th-ranked Bolivia in its first group play match, Berhalter said three points would be very helpful.

“We know that a win against Bolivia really sets us up nicely in the group, so that’s going to be our focus,” Berhalter said. “We also know it’s not going to be easy, they’re gonna want to perform well, and they’re gonna want to stop us. So, it’s gonna be a great match ... in Texas, also.”

The USMNT faces Bolivia on June 20 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

One month later, matches will begin for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, France.

Full roster

Goalkeepers: Drake Callender (Miami), Roman Celentano (Cincinnati), Patrick Schulte (Columbus)

Defenders: Nathan Harriel (Philadelphia), DeJuan Jones (New England), Shaq Moore (Nashville), Ian Murphy (Cincinnati), Jackson Ragen (Seattle), Miles Robinson (Cincinnati), James Sands (New York City), Nkosi Tafari (Dallas), John Tolkin (New York Red Bulls), Caleb Wiley (Atlanta)

Midfielders: Joshua Atencio (Seattle), Aziel Jackson (St. Louis), Jack McGlynn (Philadelphia), Aidan Morris (Columbus), Timmy Tillman (LAFC), Sean Zawadzki (Columbus)

Forwards: Esmir Bajraktarevic (New England), Cade Cowell (San Jose), Bernard Kamungo (Dallas), Diego Luna (Salt Lake), Duncan McGuire (Orlando), Brian White (Vancouver)

To see more roster notes from U.S. Soccer, click here.


About the Authors

Mason Hickok is a digital journalist at KSAT. He graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a communication degree and a minor in film studies. He also spent two years working at The Paisano, the independent student newspaper at UTSA. Outside of the newsroom, he enjoys the outdoors, reading and watching movies.

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