Tim Parker will have to wait until the next camp to get called in. (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
As expected, Aaron Long was summoned to the U.S. men’s national team January training camp Thursday morning.
On the other hand, his partner in crime in the middle of the Red Bulls back four, Tim Parker, wasn’t.
During a Thursday morning conference call with the media, new U.S. head coach Gregg Berhalter explained the reason why he left the Hicksville, N.Y. native off the 27-man roster.
Parker is coming off a solid Major League Soccer season, in which he and Long were corner stones of the best defense in the league. He also made his U.S. national team debut this past June. The Red Bulls conceded a league-low 33 goals in 34 league matches en route to the 2018 Supporters Shield.
Age and depth at center back were the factors that keep the 25-year-old Parker out of this camp, according to Berhalter.
“I haven’t spoken to Tim yet, but I plan on reaching out to him,” he said. “He’s a guy that was a strong consideration. He had a very good MLS season. The issue at center back is that we’re deep. You look across the pool. In this particular case we decided to go with younger athletes.
“Like all players, Tim has an opportunity through Major League Soccer to get an opportunity down the road.”
Long, 26, continued his meteoric rise in the domestic league in 2018 as he was named MLS defender of the year. He was joined by Red Bulls left back Kemar Lawrence on the MLS Best XI.
“He’s a guy who has just done a great job of developing over the last couple of years,” Berhalter said. “His rise has been very fast. You like to see players keep progressing at that rate, keep obtaining every level that they go to. So with Aaron, it was USL, he did very well there. MLS, he did very well there. National team, he did …. in his last couple of games. So, it has been a pleasure watching him. I see him continuing to develop in our system.”