Friday, January 9, 2015

Matt Besler and Jon Kempin selected for U.S. Men's National Team January Camp

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ---- Sporting Kansas City captain Matt Besler and homegrown goalkeeper Jon Kempin were named to the United States Men's National Team roster on Friday and will take part in the U.S. MNT January Camp from Jan. 12 - Feb. 8 in Carson, California.

The annual training camp will be highlighted by the first two international matches on the United States schedule in 2015. Chile will host the U.S. on Jan. 28 at Estadio El Teniente in Rancagua, Chile, before the United States returns home to face Panama at 3 p.m. CT on Feb. 8 at StubHub Center in Carson, California (ESPN, UniMas, UDN).

"The prize in 2015 for the senior National Team is the Gold Cup, and this camp will give a lot of our players a chance to kick start their preparations for an important year," U.S. Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. "We also get an opportunity to introduce the next wave of young players into the program, and in particular work with many of our Olympic-age guys as they build toward qualifying for the 2016 Olympics in Rio."

Besler has made 23 international appearances for the United States Men's National Team since his debut in 2013. The 27-year-old central defender led the national team with 11 starts in 2014, including starting  roles in all four games at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

"This is another big year ahead of us in 2015," Besler said. "The January Camp is always a good way to set the tone for the upcoming campaign and establish a positive rhythm within the national team environment. It is an important time of the year which brings a welcomed new wave of excitement and energy."

An Overland Park, Kansas native, Besler has made 161 appearances in MLS competition (including postseason) over six seasons since being selected in the first round of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft out of Notre Dame. He is a three-time MLS All-Star (2011, 2013, 2014) and has twice been named to the MLS Best XI (2012, 2013) to go along with an MLS Defender of the Year honor in 2012.

Kempin, 21, joins the full U.S. Men's National Team for the first time in his career after previously representing the United States at the Under-14 through Under-23 levels and attending the U.S. Soccer Residency Program from 2008-2009. The Leawood, Kansas native was most recently a member of the U.S. Under-21 Men's National Team during a breakthrough 2014 campaign in which he made his MLS debut.

In doing so, he became the youngest at his position to play in Major League Soccer since 2012 and also entered the record books as the youngest goalkeeper to start an MLS match in club history. Kempin earned back-to-back MLS Save of the Week honors in his first two appearances and was named MVP of the 2014 MLS Chipotle Homegrown Game.

"I am extremely honored to be able to represent my country in my first senior team call up," Kempin said. "I am excited to work with some of the best players in the world and learn from the likes of Nick Rimando and Sean Johnson. The experience I will get from working with Jurgen (Klinsmann) and his coaching staff will be very valuable to my career. My dream is to represent the United States in the Olympics and World Cups. I feel like being invited to the January Camp is one step closer to achieving those dreams."

He also appeared in the Champions Shield friendly against the English Premier League's Manchester City, one of six total appearances for the club last season (4 MLS, 1 CCL, 1 friendly) while also spending time on loan at USL PRO affiliate OKC Energy FC.

Kempin, a product of the Sporting KC Academy and the team's first homegrown player signing at age 17, now enters his sixth professional season in 2015. He made his competitive debut during the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and helped Orlando City SC claim the USL PRO Championship in 2013, making 34 saves in nine games while on loan with the Lions.

The United States - No. 27 in the latest FIFA rankings - has scheduled seven international friendlies to be played against top competition over the next six months in preparation for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup (July 7-26).

The U.S. will face five teams ranked in the top 20 in the world, including regional rival Mexico (April 15), fifth-ranked Netherlands (June 5) and 2014 FIFA World Cup champion Germany (June 10).