Last Friday, we published a poll to get readers’ picks for who to bring to camp. 292 responses later, let’s look at the results!
GOALKEEPERS: Chris Brady (Chicago Fire), Drake Callender (Inter Miami), Patrick Schulte (Columbus Crew)
DEFENDERS: Jalen Neal (LA Galaxy), Miles Robinson (Unattached), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC), Josh Wynder (Benfica B), Caleb Wiley (Atlanta United), John Tolkin (New York Red Bulls), DeJuan Jones (New England Revolution), Reed Baker-Whiting (Seattle Sounders)
MIDFIELDERS: Diego Luna (Real Salt Lake), Benja Cremaschi (Inter Miami), Rokas Pukštas (Hajduk Split), Jack McGlynn (Philadelphia Union), Brian Gutiérrez (Chicago Fire), Aidan Morris (Columbus Crew), James Sands (NYCFC)
FORWARDS: Cade Cowell (San Jose Earthquakes), Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas), Brandon Vazquez (FC Cincinnati), Duncan McGuire (Orlando City), Bernard Kamungo (FC Dallas), Niko Gioacchini (St. Louis City), Kristian Fletcher (DC United), Quinn Sullivan (Philadelphia Union)
This is a 26-man roster, based on the setup of the poll. The average age of the group is 22 years, 49 days (as of the Jan 20 game vs Slovenia). If trimmed down to 23, James Sands, Kristian Fletcher, and Quinn Sullivan would be cut.
We’ll get into a detailed breakdown of the results next. First, here’s what USMNT manager Gregg Berhalter said about this camp back when the Slovenia game was announced:
“This is an opportunity for us to identify and work with the next generation of players who have the potential to make an impact on our program.
“With the World Cup coming to the United States in 2026, we have placed a huge priority on getting as many players as possible experience in important competitions.
“Between the Olympics, Concacaf Nations League and Copa America, the chances are there for players to make a statement, and for many of them the game in San Antonio can be an important first step.”
Now here’s the detailed breakdown of the poll results:
It’s cool to see 19-year-old Chris Brady be the top overall selection. Callender and Schulte fill out the squad, Schulte no doubt at least in part due to his performances in the Columbus Crew’s MLS Cup run. There was some interest in calling up Ethan Horvath and Zack Steffen, neither of whom are in the picture for their respective clubs in England. It was also interesting to see the 70 votes for 17-year-old Diego Kochen from FC Barcelona, who made his first-team debut in a friendly with Club America just before Christmas.
Jalen Neal and Miles Robinson were the clear top 2 choices. Neal hasn’t played since July due to injuries, and Miles is out of contract with Atlanta United. He’s been linked with PSV and FC Cincinnati, and also with Bahia in Brazil. It will be interesting to see his landing spot. Josh Wynder’s 125 votes surprised me a bit. There’s certainly an excitement around youth here, whether it’s Neal, Wynder, or Brandan Craig.
Tolkin, Wiley, and DeJuan Jones were clear-cut choices. All three play on the left, but DeJuan would swap over to the right since he’s right-footed. 18-year-old Reed Baker-Whiting fills out the group. I was surprised to see Devan Tanton from Fulham get 58 votes, although he did play for Colombia’s senior team in a B-team friendly early in December.
18-year-old Benja Cremaschi was the top pick here, with Rokas Pukštas and Jack McGlynn close behind. Pukštas likely wouldn’t be able to stay for the full camp or play in the friendly, as his next club match is January 20. Obed Vargas got more votes than James Sands in midfield, but I gave Sands the nod due to the 75 votes he received as a CB. Interested to hear people’s thoughts on how we could improve this voting system in the future.
The top three picks (Luna, Cowell, and Gutiérrez) were all part of this past U20 World Cup cycle. It was very tight among the rest of these spots. I was a little disappointed to see both Ted Ku-DiPietro and Lucho Acosta left out – although I can understand why some might not want to include Acosta, since he’s not yet eligible to play in USMNT games. It was especially cool to see the love for Kristian Fletcher, who’s been killing it on loan with Swansea City’s U21s.
Note: I included Matthew Hoppe in the poll, but his loan to San Jose just expired and he’s just returned to Middlesbrough in the Championship, so probably wouldn’t be available.
Ferreira was well behind both Vázquez and McGuire, but it’s fair to include him (especially since he received 90 votes in the AM/winger slot). Again, I’m interested to hear people’s thoughts on how this process could be improved.
How do you feel about the roster? What changes would you make to this polling process in the future? Hit the comments to let us know.