United States men’s national team head coach Gregg Berhalter has called up D.C. United duo Bill Hamid and Paul Arriola as part of his 25-man January camp. For Hamid, the news marks a return to a USMNT camp for the first time under Berhalter, who had controversially left the Black-and-Red star off of every previous roster list during his tenure.
There were further surprises in the squad, which will head to Qatar for training and closed-door scrimmages from January 5-25 before returning stateside to play Costa Rica on February 1. Former United academy player Bryang Kayo, who turned down homegrown interest from D.C. to sign with Orange County SC before a planned move to play in Europe once he turns 18, is in the squad. Kayo had joined the USMNT on an informal basis when they trained in Annapolis last year.
Kayo is one of twelve uncapped players in the squad. In that group, highly-touted USYNT prospect Ulysses Llanez and FC Dallas attacker Jesus Ferreira (who just received his citizenship recently) will draw the most attention. In terms of DMV locals, Chase Gasper — a Virginia native who attended the University of Maryland — and former Georgetown goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski both have a shot at getting their first cap.
Hamid’s path to a call-up has been a bumpy one. Despite consistently stellar play, Berhalter stubbornly preferred other options. However, a 2019 that saw him star for a United side that had the second-best defensive record in the league may have finally turned the tide. Along with Marcinkowski, Hamid will have to once again outplay Sean Johnson and Matt Turner to stay in the mix once the full-strength squad is called in for future camps.
Arriola, on the other hand, has been a fixture for Berhalter, and was among the team leaders in minutes played and appearances in 2019. He should be a favorite to start against Costa Rica, though players like Llanez, Ferreira, and Jonathan Lewis will be pushing him for time on the wing.
The full roster is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (New York City FC), Matt Turner (New England Revolution), JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
Defenders: Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Chase Gasper (Minnesota United), Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids)
Midfielders: Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas), Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union), Christian Cappis (Hobro IK), Bryang Kayo (Unattached)
Forwards: Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC), Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 32/5), Ulysses Llanez (Wolfsburg/GER; 0/0), Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas; 0/0), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids; 5/0)