Ahead of the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal against Jamaica, the United States Men’s National Team added a new player to the roster.
A request was made to include New England Revolution centerback Henry Kessler, who joined the camp in Dallas on July 20th. According to U.S. Soccer, the move was approved. He replaces Walker Zimmerman, after the FC Dallas defender exited the final group stage match against Canada with a hamstring strain.
CONFIRMED: @Concacaf has approved the request for @HenryKessler4 to replace Walker Zimmerman on the #USMNT @GoldCup roster.— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) July 25, 2021
He will wear the No. 24 shirt for the tournament. #GoldCup21 | #USAvJAM pic.twitter.com/BcHNozvbWe
Due to “amended tournament regulations,” teams are allowed “medical changes up to 24 hours prior to kick-off.” The replacement “must come from the 60-player provisional roster.” Decisions are made by the CONCACAF Medical Committee.
Cade Cowell was also training with the USMNT, but 17-year-old attacker has returned to the San Jose Earthquakes. According to manager Gregg Berhalter, Daryl Dike and Paul Arriola will be “game-time decisions,” with the former closer to a return. Both suffered injuries during the group stage.
Kessler is a 6’4” center back with the New England Revolution in MLS. The 23-year-old spent three years at the University of Virginia before being selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2020 SuperDraft. Since becoming a professional, he has made 38 appearances across all competitions.
The New York City native is also eligible to play for the Republic of Ireland. He was a member of the U.S. Under-23 squad at the recent 2020 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, starting three matches. This call-up is his first experience with the senior national team.
Despite briefly losing his starting role this season, Kessler is a suitable addition to the squad, capable of dealing with crosses and maintaining possession. His tackling and ability to shut down dribblers are similarly impressive. Described as a “physical, level-headed, and technical defender,” he is viewed as having a high ceiling with long-term national team potential.