United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann was unapologetic after picking a veteran-heavy squad in an attempt to win the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Since the 2014 World Cup, Klinsmann has embarked on a process of refreshing the USA’s national team, with the likes of 22-year-old Bobby Wood, Jordan Morris (20), Juan Agudelo (22) and Joe Corona (24) impressing in friendlies this year.
But the redevelopment process was shelved on Tuesday, as Klinsmann announced his 23-man squad for the Gold Cup, which begins on July 7.
The German coach selected a squad with an average age of 27.22, including seven players aged 30 or older, while only two – Ventura Alvarado (5) and Gyasi Zardes (7) – have played less than 10 matches for the USA.
“It’s not about developing players for the next couple of weeks, it’s about winning that Gold Cup and qualifying for the Confederations Cup 2017,” Klinsmann said in a statement released by U.S. Soccer. “So we’ve got to put the development side on the backburner for a few weeks, and then we’re going to pick it back up because the only way we can develop the players and get them better and better is by giving them opportunities.”
Klinsmann will rely on familiar faces such as Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley and Brad Guzan at the continental championships, which will be hosted by the USA and Canada.
“Going into a Gold Cup, especially in our region here, experience means a lot,” he said.
“You need players that stay calm in very emotional and very difficult and very tough battles.
“It can get nasty, things might not go your way in some moments, so you have to stay cool and you have to always be on top of things. I think the experience that players like Brad Guzan, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Chris Wondolowski, Nick Rimando have, just to name a few of them, those guys bring the experience with them to stay calm and get the job done.”
The USA will complete their Gold Cup preparation with a friendly versus Guatemala on July 3 before starting the tournament against Honduras.
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