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May 21, 2013 at 3:25 PM

A stop and chat with U.S. men’s national team call-up Brad Evans

evans mug 2013Sounders FC midfielder Brad Evans was announced Tuesday as a new addition to U.S. men’s national training camp coming up for a pair of international friendlies and then a trio of World Cup qualifiers.

Evans, 28, has played seven games for the USMNT, including his first here in Seattle during the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup. He will report after Sunday’s road game against the Galaxy, and here is a full transcript of his interview with reporters after practice:

*     *     *

(What is your reaction to being called in to the national team?) “Positive. Happy to be called in. Getting that late call-up again — it seems to be the most often thing that happens (with me), I guess — but always being ready, always being prepared no matter what position you’re going into play and whatever it may be. You always want that call, especially when it’s not expected. It makes it even more surprising and special, I guess. You know for a couple weeks that you’re on the standby list, so if anything does happen there’s the possibility of getting called in. I was just making lunch yesterday, and I actually was going to ignore the phone call and wait to pick it up later. I looked at it and go, ‘Oh,’ and I turned the stove off and had a good, long conversation. Really positive and really happy.”

(Who was on the other end of the call?) “Jurgen. Jurgen makes the phone call, and he had spoken with Sigi beforehand. (Schmid) gave the green light, and now I’ll step in and hopefully perform, do what I did in the past, and hopefully catch on.”

(Did any position come up during your talk with Klinsmann? It appears right back might be an area of need with Steve Cherundolo and Timmy Chandler out…) “I think before the Canada game, in that whole camp I was playing center mid. And then (Klinsmann) said before the Honduras game that if I was going to go in it would be at right back, so be prepared. It could be any position really. I think it will be a little bit up in the air, but I think my focus probably shifts more to playing the right-back role. Whatever it is, take it in stride and get out to training. The most important thing is still this Sunday’s game against the Galaxy.”

(How big of an opportunity is this to get into the World Cup conversation?) “That’s very, very far off in the future, in my view. I’m still a fringe player in my mind, and until I prove otherwise, that’s where my mindset is. Obviously there are aspirations and there are always goals, but right now, being a standby player and waiting to get that call, that’s where your mind is. You perform for your club and you hopefully get called into the national team and show the best that you can, and whatever happens happens. At this point, I just have to focus obviously on Sunday, and once we get into camp, then we’ll get settled into a position and see where it goes from there.”

(Did they give any indication on how long you’ll be there? Are you planning on staying all the way through June 18?) “Hopefully. If I do play, and I perform well, I would hope to continue on. I think it’s a case of, if I fit into a position, wherever it may be, and things go well, I’ll probably stay on. At this point I just think it’s a last minute call-up and we’ll see what happens.”

(Knowing the prize of next year’s World Cup, did you come into 2013 thinking this could be the year you elevate from a fringe player to a larger role?) “I think at the beginning of January, I saw what (Graham) Zusi did last year and kind of broke into the team and has made himself a mainstay, and I think there’s been a lot of emphasis on MLS players to step up and really show they belong. … The most important goal for me was, if I’m going to perform for all of January, for three and a half weeks and go through double days, then I’m not going to go through the motions. I’m going to try and be a staple, be a leader, stay healthy and perform the best that I can. If I do happen to catch on and start in that Canada game, we’ll see where it goes from there. But it’s just little steps. There is still a lot of room to grow. Obviously it’s just about hard work.”

(The majority of USMNT players these days have some level of MLS experience. How big is MLS in producing national team players?) “It’s pretty much the MO for American guys now. It’s performing well in MLS and then catching on in Europe and furthering your career there. I think there are a lot of guys who have signed multiyear contracts that will end up going to Brazil that play in MLS. You look at Omar Gonzalez or Graham Zusi or Besler, if they end up going, it’s guys who have been in MLS for a while. You always want to make that jump, but when you’re playing well and getting noticed by your national team and playing in the U.S. and you’ve been involved in U.S. games… guys have done well enough to prove themselves. There is always the aspiration to go overseas and prove yourself there, but if you’re getting called up for the World Cup and you’re playing in MLS, you have to be doing something good.”

(The centennial game is coming up. Does stuff like that register with players?) “There was a lot of talk in January just about the 100 years and kind of where we’ve come from. (We watched) a couple videos of the history of U.S. Soccer and what we’ve accomplished in the past and what we continue to do in the future. I think it’s an important game, just like anything. We can mark out 10-year history with the Sounders when that comes, and then 20 years, so you’re always looking for little landmarks. Obviously 100 years is extremely special. I think it’ll be obviously a massive game, probably a sold out crowd, as well. Something great to be a part of, hopefully.”

(What about the chance of playing in the game here in Seattle?) “If I stay on that long with the team, (it would be) just like the Gold Cup game, just way more people and way more importance, and against a really good team. It’s always special. The games that stick out in your minds, obviously your first cap and having it be at home was the one I’ll always remember forever. To get to come back and play in front of your fans would be something special.”

(What is it like wearing a USMNT jersey?) “Obviously it’s a little bit different. It’s something that doesn’t happen as often. Anytime you can get to that next level and represent your country … (there are) just certain vibes, certain emotions that you get from that. There’s a lot of hard work that goes into it, and when you see it doesn’t go unnoticed, it’s a little bit special.”


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