Sporting Kansas City: MLS Club Sends 3 Players to USMNT January Camp

Alan Hainkel@@fntncitysoccerContributor IDecember 23, 2011

Graham Zusi
Graham ZusiKyle Rivas/Getty Images

Individual accolades continue to pour in for Sporting Kansas City players.

On Thursday, Sporting KC announced that three players had been invited to the U.S. Men's National Team training camp next month in preparation for friendlies against Venezuela and Panama.

Forward Teal Bunbury, already in camp with the U-23 team preparing for Olympic qualifying, will be joined by forward C.J. Sapong and midfielder Graham Zusi. Bunbury will be the only field player that will participate in both camps.

In a press release, Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said, "January camps are a good introduction for players to work their way into the National Team, so it's a prime opportunity for guys like C.J. Sapong and Graham Zusi, while Teal Bunbury continues to establish himself in the player pool."

Sporting KC tied FC Dallas for most selections with three players each. MLS is well-represented on the roster, as only Ricardo Clark and Michael Parkhurst are not playing in the league.

Sapong and Zusi will be participating in their first national team camp. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann handed out only three first-time invites to Camp Cupcake, as it's popularly referred to.

Not only that, but Sapong and Bunbury account for half of the forwards at next month's camp.

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Bunbury made his first appearance for the U.S. in November 2010. He scored his first national team goal from the spot in a friendly with Chile in January of this year.

Teal Bunbury (l) and C.J. Sapong
Teal Bunbury (l) and C.J. SapongThearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Sapong, who led all rookies in scoring with five goals and five assists, said he was grateful for the opportunity.

“I’m very excited and thankful for this opportunity,” said Sapong, the 2011 MLS Rookie of the Year. “I’ve worked really hard for this and look forward to working even harder to take my game to the next level.”

Zusi, whose career highs with five goals and seven assists earned him MLSSoccer.com's Breakout Player of the Year award, wants to represent the club well in camp.

I'm looking forward to representing Sporting Kansas City in my first national team camp,” Zusi said. “It will be a great experience and a great way to start the 2012 season.”

Bunbury, who tied for the team lead with nine goals in the 2011 regular season, said he was honored by the invite.

“It’s always an honor to be given the opportunity to play for your country,” Bunbury said. “Credit goes to Sporting KC for having such a good season. It’s given me the chance to be able to have this opportunity. I’m ready to go into camp and work hard, learn and try to improve my game. I’m very thankful.”

Training camp will begin in Phoenix, AZ, on January 3rd. The team will train there for 10 days before moving to Carson, CA, for another six days.

The first match of 2012 will be January 21st when the USMNT plays Venezuela at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ.

The USMNT will then travel to Panama City to play Panama at Estadio Rommel Fernandez on January 25th.


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