With the team sitting atop the MLS standings, it was no surprise last weekend to hear the news that three San Jose Earthquakes had been named to the U.S. Men’s National Team for a midweek friendly against rival Mexico.
Chris Wondolowski has been a mainstay of head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s training camps since the German took over the program last summer, and newcomer Steven Beitashour has amassed the credentials over his brief professional career to warrant a call-up. Even surprise pick Alan Gordon was a worthy inclusion in the 23-man roster given his blossoming goal scoring acumen with San Jose.
Add in the fact that Victor Bernardez and Marvin Chavez were called to the Honduran national team for a match against Brazilian club side Boca Juniors, and the Earthquakes had five players representing their countries in international friendlies on Wednesday. The number was not surprising to San Jose head coach Frank Yallop, who has steadily built a team that brings out the best in his players.
“We try to run the club as professionally as we can and let the players express themselves,” said Yallop. “We’re seeing the real Beitashour, Wondo, Alan with our team. And it’s not just those guys. You see the best of all our players as they take the chance to express themselves.”
And while USMNT newcomers Beitashour and Gordon did not earn their first caps as part of the Yanks’ historic 1-0 victory over Mexico at Estadio Azteca, the invitation to meet and train with Klinsmann and his coaching staff was a huge opportunity for the two Earthquakes to make a positive impression. Perhaps more call-ups are in their futures, especially if their club form continues at its current torrid pace. That same team success might bode will for other teammates to also get the nod. Yallop mentioned Justin Morrow and Steven Lenhart as guys who have played well for San Jose and could get a look down the line.
For Beitashour, Gordon and the lot, staying positive and working hard toward earning a national team cap for the U.S. is only a part of their responsibilities as professionals, and Yallop has repeatedly stated that he wants the Earthquakes to be a club that fosters those ambitions in its players.
“Our veteran guys like Ramiro (Corrales) and Jon (Busch) encourage rather than dig at the youngsters, and I think it makes a big difference,” said Yallop. “It helps you feel as a player the confidence that you can play at any level.”
Corrales and Busch, two of eight current Earthquakes players with caps for their national teams, can be seen working with the young players each and every day at training. Their wisdom, as well as that from the other veterans like Bernardez and Khari Stephenson, add to the professionalism of the club and provide a benchmark for their teammates to achieve.
Looking at the current Earthquakes roster, the team hosts an impressive number of players that have featured at some level of their national team programs. A few have probably seen their chances to be capped at the senior level gone by, but others are only now beginning to garner the attention they need to break onto the international soccer scene.
One thing is certain, with Yallop in charge and with savvy and experienced veteran players at his side, the list of the national team call-ups from San Jose will grow.
San Jose Earthquakes with National Team Experience
United States (12): David Bingham (U-23), Steven Beitashour (call-up), Jon Busch (1 cap), Ramiro Corrales (6 caps), Sam Cronin (2 caps), Sam Garza (U-20), Alan Gordon (call-up), Jason Hernandez (call-up), Ike Opara (U-23), Tim Ward (U-23), Chris Wondolowski (8 caps), Jed Zayner (U-18)
Honduras (2): Victor Bernardez (56 caps), Marvin Chavez (24 caps)
England (1): Simon Dawkins (U-17)
Haiti (1): Jean-Marc Alexandre (13 caps)
Jamaica (1): Khari Stephenson (28 caps)
Morocco (1): Mehdi Ballouchy (U-17)
Turkey (1): Sercan Guvenisik (U-21)