BRIAN SCIARETTA - Monday, January 11, 2010
While many at this month's US national team camp look to make a solid first impression in front of head coach Bob Bradley, Marvell Wynne hopes to reestablish himself as a contender for this summer's World Cup roster.
Following a solid individual performance at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Wynne was widely considered to be a serious contender for the right back position on the national team. A shaky performance, however, in a crucial World Cup qualifier in Costa Rica last summer, along with the solid and consistent play of Steve Cherundolo and Jonathan Spector at right back, has seen Wynne fall down the depth chart.
With several weeks to work in front of the coaching staff, Wynne views this camp as a chance to increase his stock once again.
"I see myself in contention, I suppose," Wynne told YA on how he views his chances at making the 2010 World Cup roster. "I don't think I could have any other kind of outlook if I wasn't here at this camp.
"What I hope to do is to give Coach Bradley a difficult decision in who he wants to play at right back," he continues. "It would be a dream come true to play in the World Cup."
As one of the elite right backs in MLS, Wynne is a player who has built his game around his explosive speed and supreme athleticism. It is those qualities that made him the first overall pick in the 2006 MLS Superdraft and a key player on the 2008 USA Olympic team. At this month's camp, he will be looking to regain his fitness as the long MLS offseason can often take its toll on athletic players like Wynne.
"At this training camp I am trying to get myself comfortable playing at such a high level as well as getting my fitness back for the preseason because I think fitness is one of my key strengths," he explained. "The higher I can get my [fitness] the better player I will be."
Next month, the Pittsburgh native is scheduled to return to his club, Toronto FC, to begin preseason. Wynne began his career with the New York Red Bulls but has been with Toronto since 2007.
"Toronto is actually a wonderful place," Wynne said of his current situation. "It's a great city. Off the field, I enjoy being there a lot and, on the field, it is such a great atmosphere. I am really glad I am there right now and hopefully next year is going to go really well for us."
With the success he has achieved in MLS the past few seasons, the former UCLA Bruin has occasionally been rumored to be one of the Americans who may move his game overseas. While Wynne said he would welcome such an opportunity, he doesn't view it as crucial either.
"My take on soccer and life in general is that soccer is played all over the world, so why not go see it? I would love to go around," Wynne said of where he thinks his career could take him. "If I can go play overseas, it would be wonderful. I don't have any specific place [in mind]."
"If I am there for a couple of years, wherever that may be, it would be great. But, if I am still in MLS, it would wonderful. I will go wherever the game takes me."
While the prospects of moving his career abroad remains a clear possibility for the future, Wynne remains for now focused on his upcoming season with Toronto FC and making a strong push to earn a spot on the USA's World Cup roster. Even though he admits that inclusion in the World Cup roster for 2010 will prove difficult for him, he explained that he is nevertheless optimistic for the USA's chances at the tournament.
"I am not going to say if I have any expectations," Wynne opined. "But, I know that we are going to be ready for it and, no matter who we play, we are going to make it difficult for them and show the world that the USA wants to get on the map, in terms of being a powerhouse in international soccer."