Real Salt Lake players Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando were selected this week to the preliminary 30-man U.S. national team roster that will compete for 23 spots on the final U.S. World Cup 2014 squad. Beckerman and Rimando left Salt Lake City on Wednesday, May 14 for Palo Alto, California to begin training.
If Beckerman and Rimando are to make the U.S. World Cup team, it would be their first. Robbie Findley was the last RSL player to make the U.S. World Cup final roster; he did so in 2010.
For Beckerman who has 35 caps as a national team player spanning back some 15 years when he first starred for the U.S. Under-16s in 1997, the chance he has to play in Brazil for the senior national team at age 32 might represent his last opportunity as a professional player.
As for Rimando, he’s a relative newcomer to the international game unlike Beckerman. With just 14 national team caps to his credit, he has stormed on the scene in the past two years not only as a solid goalkeeper but a player that his teammates respect.
Both Beckerman and Rimando -- who just turned 35 years old -- are probably experiencing their last opportunities to make the national team at this World Cup. That said, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said he appreciates all the players who have contributed to a fantastic run and helped the Americans qualify for Brazil.
“First of all, we want to thank all of the players who have been a part of the process these last three years,” Klinsmann said in a press release. “It’s been an incredible journey, and everyone has worked tremendously hard. We had some difficult decisions to make, and we are very excited about the 30 players coming into camp. There is competition in every position, and these next couple of weeks will allow us to make the final determinations on the best 23-man unit to represent the United States in the World Cup.”
The U.S. national team will play three pre-tournament games against Azerbaijan, Turkey and Nigeria later this month leading up to World Cup 2014 in Brazil. After that, Klinsmann and his staff will make the seven cuts and announce the Americans’ 23-man final roster.