U.S. National Team Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann announced his 30-man preliminary roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and three players from Sounders FC are still in the hunt for spots on the final 23-man squad. Clint Dempsey, Brad Evans and DeAndre Yedlin all got the call for the camp, which starts on Wednesday at Stanford University in California as the U.S. National Team moves one step closer to the daunting challenge that awaits in Brazil.
"You always dream of these things and when they become more and more tangible, you want even more of it," Evans said. "There are guys on the roster who have competed in multiple World Cups, who have been there before, who have played at the top level, so to be involved with these guys...says a lot about MLS and how far we've come."
Dempsey, 31, has 36 goals in 103 appearances, both second to Landon Donovan for the lead among active players. In 10 matches last year, he netted six goals and two assists in helping the U.S. qualify for the World Cup with a first-place finish in the CONCACAF region. He scored in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups and has his sights set on becoming the first U.S. player to score in three World Cups.
"Every time you get to play in the World Cup it's a dream come true. When I was a little kid, it's what I used to pray about, hoping that one day I could play in one," Dempsey said. "That I have the opportunity to play in three is pretty special."
Evans, 29, had one goal and two assists last year, including a stoppage-time winner over Jamaica in the Hexagonal Round. He now has 17 caps for the U.S. and has established himself over the last year as the starting right back.
"I think I've put in a lot of work over the past year and a half and it's great to be rewarded with a call-up and even the opportunity to go to Brazil," Evans said. "It's been a fun ride."
Yedlin, 20, got his first cap in February in a 2-0 win over South Korea, then made his second appearance on April 2 in a 2-2 draw with Mexico in a friendly at University of Phoenix Stadium. A late addition to the U.S. U-20 World Cup team a year ago, Yedlin has seen a quick rise in the international ranks at right back.
"It's pretty incredible to be considered for this team, especially at a young age. This experience is going to be amazing," Yedlin said. "Being with these 30 players is going to be incredible and it's really going to prepare me for my career ahead."
Major League Soccer is well-represented on the 30-man squad, with 15 players coming from MLS clubs and Sounders FC being the only club with three players in camp. Other teams with multiple players on the roster are the LA Galaxy, Sporting Kansas City, Real Salt Lake and the San Jose Earthquakes, each with two players.
The U.S. will play three matches before departing for Brazil with the 23-man World Cup roster. The Send-off Series starts against Azerbaijan at Candlestick Park on May 27, continues on June 1 against Turkey at Red Bull Arena and concludes on June 6 at EverBank Field in Jacksonville against Nigeria.
"It's just another opportunity," Evans said. "Nothing is set in stone, so it's time to go to work."