The magic number for Latino US soccer fans this month is nine. That’s how many players with Latino backgrounds coach Jurgen Klinsmann has called up for the US national team’s games against Ecuador on Oct. 10th and Honduras on Oct. 14th. That’s quite a coincidence considering the games fall on the final week of Hispanic Heritage month…or is it?!
The call-up features a number of new and young faces who Klinsmann wants to try out for a number of major tournaments coming up. Those include next year’s Gold Cup, the Olympics and Copa America Centenario in 2016, and, of course, the World Cup in 2018. “We are looking forward to young players that bring a lot of energy to the table and really enjoy what they are doing,” said Klinsmann in an interview. “They want to prove a point, but all in a team context.”
Mexican-American players fill up the majority of the Latino roster with Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Greg Garza (Tijuana Xolos), Michael Orozco (Puebla), Joe Corona (Tijuana Xolos) and Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake) on the sheet. Colombian-American Alejandro Bedoya (FC Nantes) also made the cut.
There are also two very surprising additions. The first is Mexican-American Miguel Ibarra who plays with Minnesota United FC in lower division North American Soccer League. It’s the first time a player from a non-MLS domestic league has been called to a camp since 2005. However, it’s not a surprising addition at all when you check out his highlight reel:
Then there’s Alfredo Morales who plays with FC Ingolstadt 04, a 2. Bundesliga team in Germany. Morales is of German-Peruvian-American descent who decided to play for the US team because he wanted a shot at the London 2012 Olympics, which neither Germany nor Peru qualified for. Who’s the Übermensch now?!
USMNT supporter group The American Outlaws is also doing its part in celebrating both the call-up and Hispanic Heritage month. The group partnered with Latinos for Team USA to create a poster for “el equipo de todos.” The poster by Steve Alfaro is available free at AO’s website.
“Our national teams are a mirror held up to the country itself; increasingly diverse with people of many varied backgrounds and experiences contributing to one, united cause,” said a group spokesman via press release. “It is in the spirit of that diversity, and, specifically our Hispanic players and fans, that we dedicate Alfaro’s work to them.”
The game against Ecuador will air at 7pm EST while the game against Honduras will air at 8pm EST, both on ESPN.