Evans building towards the end of USMNT camp with Partners

The fan favorite midfielder has become a fan of a certain European board game while away with the national team.

There is a popular board game in Denmark called Partners.

It is a game similar to Sorry!, but with some twists that make strategic elements of the game more critical to success.

At US National Team training camp in Carson, Calif., Sounders FC midfielder has joined with Sporting Kansas City’s Benny Feilhaber to square off against midfielder Alejandro Bedoya and LA Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez in the game of Partners throughout the camp, getting into heated games each night while they relax after a busy day on the training ground.

Feilhaber is something of a veteran of the game, as he brought it back with him from his four years with AGF Aarhus in the Danish Superliga, so the team of Evans and Feilhaber has seen plenty of success.  That doesn’t keep Evans from obsessing over strategies within the game though.

“You get addicted to it and you dream about strategies and the ultimate play,” he said.

Similarly, the US National Team is also dreaming up strategies as they build toward the conclusion of January training camp next Tuesday with a friendly against Canada at Houston’s BBVA Compass Stadium.

Since camp opened on January 9, the 23 players have worked to learn the systems and strategies implemented by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann all while working on their fitness as well.

They have played 11v11 scrimmages within training, but this week also met Club Tijuana in a scrimmage, playing to a 3-0 victory in the 90-minute match.

“It was good to start to get more familiar with where you’re going to play on the field and how you will apply the ideas and concepts to other teams that you haven’t really faced before,” Evans said.  “I think the main focus was applying what we had been going through in practice.  Each team has their own thoughts on how they want to play the game and there’s a lot that goes into it.  You want to play your way, but you want to impress and play the way that the coach wants to play at the same time.  It’s all about finding that right balance and that right mix of players.”

Evans may have just six caps, but at 27 he has been one of the more veteran leaders in the group.  Similar to the Sounders, where he is now entering his fifth season, he has taken to being a more vocal member of the team on the field and has been a reliable mentor off the field as well.

It’s a role that he has taken to naturally, in part because it is a role he has become so familiar with in Seattle.

“There are guys who are going to do their business and guys that are going to be more vocal.  Whatever my role ends up being, it’s great.  I’m the first to admit that I’m still learning,” he said.  “I need to better my own game, but I’m also to a point where I can lead by example.”

The US will head to Houston over the weekend and meet Canada on Tuesday.  Some will continue with the team and will be joined by other National Team players as they get ready to face Honduras in the World Cup qualifying match on February 6 in Hondruas while others will return to their club teams.

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