US National Team
The U.S. Men's National Team's 2-0 win over Mexico at Crew Stadium last September is featured prominently in ESPN's most recent promo for the network's 2014 FIFA World Cup coverage. "I Believe" focuses on the American Outlaws supporters group and the atmosphere created by more than 9,000 organized supporters groups across 27 sections of Crew Stadium.
The only downside of versatility is never knowing where a player might line-up on the field.
Though he's featured solely at centerback in his first season with the Black & Gold, Michael Parkhurst has featured at both left and rightback for the U.S. Men's National Team. Most recently, the Crew Captain put in a solid 90-minute performance in a 2-2 draw with Mexico last week.
Following Wednesday's training session in Obetz, Parkhurst could be seen working on his crosses from the left side. With the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil steadily approaching, Parkhurst is working to stay sharp should he get the call from National Team Head Coach Jürgen Klinsmann.
"I just want to make sure every now and then I'm hitting some crosses from the left and the right because you never know when I'll play there for the Crew or for the National Team," he said. "I just want to be able to have a good performance whenever I'm called upon to be an outside back."
In his tenth season as a pro, Parkhurst has earned 25 caps for the Stars and Stripes and is in competition for the United States' final 23-man roster for this summer's World Cup.
Crew defender Michael Parkhurst earned his 25th cap for the United States on Wednesday in the United States' 2-2 draw with Mexico at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. Parkhurst made his second-straight start at leftback, and played the full 90 minutes in the draw.
The Crew Captain is due back in Columbus ahead of the Black & Gold's Trillum Cup clash with Toronto FC, presented by Scotts, on Saturday.
Crew Soccer Academy midfielders George Braima and Ben Swanson were recently called-up to represent the United States at the U-17 and U-18 levels, respectively.
Braima and the U-17 U.S. Men's National Team head to Bosnia-Herzegovina for the Josip Katalinski International Tournament and two international friendlies in Zagreb, Croatia. In the Katalinski Tournament, the U.S. takes on Montenegro and Sarajevo Select before wrapping up play in the tournament against either the Bosnia U-17 National Team, Belgrade Select or the Macedonia U-17 National Team in a placement match. In Zagreb, the U.S. plays Croatia on April 8 and April 10.
Swanson and the U.S. U-18 squad will stay stateside for a camp that includes a friendly with Canada on April 8 and another against Mexico on April 12. Swanson recently trained with the Crew First Team following the Copa del Atlantico in the Canary Islands.
The Crew Soccer Academy's Sean Zawadzki was called-in to U.S. U-14 Boys' National Team camp earlier this week by Head Coach Tony Lepore. The camp will run from March 22-30 in Carson, Calif. While in Florida for the Black & Gold's preseason, Crew legend Frankie Hejduk paid a visit to Zawadski while the youngster was training with the U-14 BNT in Lakewood Ranch.
It's never too early to look forward to the next World Cup cycle.
ESPNFC's Jeff Carlisle has listed the Crew's Wil Trapp as one of "10 U.S. stars to watch for in 2018." Among others, the 21-year-old reigning U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year is listed along with New England Revolution midfielder Kelyn Rowe (pictured above with Trapp), Bayern Munich winger Julian Green and Seattle Sounders defender DeAndre Yedlin in Carlisle's projection.
Here's what U.S. U-20 Men's National Team Head Coach and World Cup veteran Tab Ramos had to say about Trapp's future in the article:
"I think Wil Trapp will be a professional for the next 15 years, and I’m hoping he's the next guy to make a jump to the first team because he does all the things right. He connects the team better than anyone. He's always there. He's always in the right place, and when the ball gets to him, he puts it in an even better place. He's a Xavi kind of player. Obviously you can't compare him to Xavi because he's been doing it for the last 15 years, but he's that kind of guy. He connects the dots like that."
Ahead of the U.S. Men's National Team's friendly against South Korea on Saturday (5:00 p.m. ET/ESPN 2, UniMas), Sports Illustrated soccer writer Grant Wahl caught up with Crew defender Michael Parkhurst to talk about his return to MLS and his World Cup aspirations in 2014. Parkhurst has been in Carson, Calif. training with the National Team since Monday and could figure to be in the starting lineup on Saturday. The 30-year old defender is likely to re-join Crew training camp following the friendly.
Crew Soccer Academy Wolves product Ahinga Selemani and CSA midfielder Ben Swanson are included in U.S. U-18 Men's National Team Head Coach Javier Perez's 18-man squad that is headed to the Copa del Atlantico in Spain, U.S. Soccer announced on Tuesday. Swanson is one of just eight players born in 1997 on the roster.
The U.S. will square-off against the likes of Spain, Argentina and the Canary Islands in the tournament. The Copa del Atlantico starts on January 30 and finishes up on February 8.
Crew defender Michael Parkhurst talks about his move back to Major League Soccer and his fight for a spot on the U.S. Men's National Team's World Cup roster in June.