Who is Miguel Ibarra? The U.S. soccer world is about to find out. Making good on news that broke last week, United States Men’s National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann has called the second-tier winger into this week’s camp. From Minnesota United to the red, white, and blue, Ibarra is about to become a
household dorm room name.
Passed on by Major League Soccer, Minnesota United FC winger Miguel Ibarra has played his way into the U.S. Men’s National Team, paving the way for a series of even more random selections in the future. (Photo: Mike Stobe/New York Cosmos/Getty Images)
Clawing his way from UC Irvine to the North American Soccer League to the latest Camp Klinsmann, Ibarra has blazed a remarkable trail, becoming the first lower division player to earn a recall since Clyde Simms in 2006. His path, however, looks direct compared to some of the other players that are also rumored to be in the picture. These names may not be on their way to Hartford, Conn., but in future camps, don’t be surprised if the U.S. turns to even more extravagant sources for its senior talent:
Shaquell Moore, D, FC Dallas/IMG Academy – Klinsmann’s gone college, and now he’s gone second-tier, but has he hit up the high school ranks? No, which is a disgrace. Until he does, all this talk about expanding the player pool is utter tosh.
Moore is a highly regarded 17-year-old defender who’s already trained with FC Dallas, which is more than enough to justify a look from Klinsmann’s new, more open-minded set up. Seen as one of the best defensive prospects in the nation, the Georgia native has been called the “Julian Green of the back line” by more than zero publications (see: this post).
If Klinsmann calls him up, Moore will be hailed as a player ahead of his time, the instant credibility that comes with a senior team recall sure to draw comparisons with Matt Besler and Eddie Pope. And really, do we know enough about Moore to refute those claims? Absolutely not. In Klinnsy, we trust.
Will John, M, AZAL (Azerbaijan) – Minnesota United is obscure, sure, but only kind of obscure. After all, we can all find Minnesota on a map (it’s next to those big blue things, right?). Azerbaijan, however, is truly obscure, and with advisor Berti Vogts in his sixth year in charge of that country’s national team, it shouldn’t be too long until this diamond is extracted from its rough.
John is 29, so he’s already experienced, and with eight goals from midfield in last year’s Preymer League, he can provide the type of attacking presence that could push Michael Bradley into a more natural role.
At least, that’s the theory. We haven’t actually seen John play, which might be the main reason he’s destined for a recall.
Current New York Red Bulls broadcaster Shep Messing shamelessly campaigned for a recall three years ago by making out with former U.S. captain John Harkes. It’s about time the former Cosmo’s dream came true. (Photo: Mike Stobe/Getty Images Sport)
Shep Messing, G, New York Cosmos alumni – Messing’s never been capped? It’s about time we changed that, especially since the NASL is again a factor in national team selections. Despite the league’s reboot, the former Cosmos keeper is still one of the circuit’s most recognizable figures, and with competition between the posts heating up in the absence of Tim Howard, there’s no reason to overlook the 64-year-old broadcaster.
Some would argue that the game has passed him by, but others would note the only way to take an already decent defense to the next level is with new, perhaps unfair, obstacles. Your keeper’s playing days expired 30 years ago, and won’t put down a microphone. We’d recommend not giving up any shots.
Filippo Chillemi, M, 1999 Bradenton alum – Who exactly is Chillemi? He’s the ultimate slight to Landon Donovan – a player who was at Bradenton at the same time as the U.S. icon but never established himself as a professional. In fairness to the former midfielder, his prospects ended because of injury, with an ankle problem picked up in college eventually forcing the Notre Dame grad to medical school.
For Klinsmann, Chillemi would be a new, even crueler way of saying “No way, Landon. I would rather dust off a guy who was with you at Bradenton than bring you back in the fold.” That’s essentially the perverse lens through which Donovan fans see Jurgen.
Nando Vila, F, The Soccer Gods – Vila proved his talents over All-Star Week in Portland, where his skill on the ball and innate imagination helped him win the league’s footgolf competition. Though Klinsmann was not on hand to witness the feat, Vila remains open to a call up. Fusion, however, is holding out for a transfer fee, despite the practice being completely inapplicable to international soccer.
Jonathan Klinsmann, G, University of California, Berkeley – About half-way through this post, we realized what’s really going on. It’s only now, 800 words in, that we see Klinsmann’s end game, one that’s disguised amid a seemingly methodical search for the U.S.’s best talent.
All of that’s a big ruse. What the U.S. boss is actually doing is expanding the scope of senior pool until everybody’s within view. From the NASL to high school, Azerbaijan to Fusion’s studios in Miami, the U.S.’s call ups imply that no talent, however obscure, is out of the reach of Project Klinsmann.
The end game, however, is Jonathan’s call up. Once every recall is beyond reproach, Dad can say, “is it really so ridiculous that I’d call up [my son]? There is a reason why he was recruited by Cal.”
As usual, Klinsmann was one step ahead of the rest of us, and now that Ibarra’s been called in, we’re too far down this road to turn back. A Pandora’s box of international recalls has been ripped open. All that’s left is for Jonathan to get his recall, and Landon Donovan to wage war on the kid’s impending Wikipedia profile.