The United States U-23 team will get their stiffest test yet on October 13. The squad will be in Brasilia, where they will take on the Brazil U-23s in a friendly as part of a three-day camp for the American side.
Jurgen Klinsmann was a driving force behind establishing an U-23 national team, something the U.S. did not have until last year. He saw it as an important age group, allowing young professionals to play in the U.S. system and at a high level, while helping to coverage the gap that had grown between the U-20s and the senior team. The goal of it is to nurture young talent, train them and put them up against top flight competition, which Brazil certainly is.
In addition to getting to play an excellent team like Brazil, the U.S. will also benefit from playing in the country that will host the 2016 Olympics. The event will be held in Rio de Janeiro, with soccer matches taking place in Brasilia, Sao Paulo, Salvador and Belo Horizonte as well. Now the Americans will get to play and train in Brazil, providing them experience ahead of the biggest tournament for the U-23 age group.
The U-23 team still does not have a dedicated manager or coaching staff, instead assembling various coaches from other U.S. coaching staffs, and that will continue in Brazil. Tab Ramos, who is the U.S. Soccer youth technical director and U-20 manager, will lead the team, as has been the case in other camps. U-18 manager Javier Perez and senior team scout Matthian Hamann will be assistants.
The training camp and friendly will come during a FIFA international date so clubs should allow players to participate. Some MLS clubs may put up a fight because they are not honoring the international date and playing matches then so we will have to see how that plays out.