USA midfielder Alejandro Bedoya (#11) appeared in seven matches during CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. (Photo: AFP Services)
CARSON, California -- Alejandro Bedoya finds himself in a unique position as the United States prepares to visit Portugal on November 14.
One of only three players in the squad that participated in the 2014 FIFA World Cup (along with defenders John Brooks and DeAndreYedlin), the 30-year-old midfielder is the training camp’s elder statesman.
"As one of the older, more experienced guys, I just try to talk to the younger players, show them the way around the national team and kind of guide them through the whole process," said Bedoya.
After falling short of a berth in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the U.S. is looking to the future. Seven players on the roster to face the European champion have taken part in the previous two U-20 World Cup cycles: Kellyn Acosta (midfielder), Cameron Carter-Vickers (defender), Lynden Gooch (midfielder), Ethan Horvath (goalkeeper), Matt Miazga (defender), Weston McKennie (midfielder) and Josh Sargent (forward)
Bedoya called last month’s 2-1 loss at Trinidad & Tobago, which eliminated the U.S. from the 2018 World Cup in the CONCACAF Hexagonal finale, "a big gut punch."
"Obviously, you deal with it,” he commented. “The first few days were very tough. It’s hard to get over. With this camp you can only dwell so much on the past. It doesn’t change anything.
“This is a great opportunity to face a great team. For some of the young kids, take this opportunity and make the most of it. Life, and soccer, goes on."
With youth ready to take a more prominent role moving forward, Bedoya was somewhat surprised to receive a call-up from acting head coach Dave Sarachan.
"Honestly, I thought there would probably be wholesale changes," concluded the Philadelphia Union standout. "But, at the same time, you go through a transitional phase. You expect some guys like myself, who have been around for a while, to be here to get that experience going."