BRIAN SCIARETTA - Wednesday, January 12, 2011
With the US national team currently assembled in Los Angeles for their annual January camp, Los Angeles Galaxy fullback Sean Franklin is hoping to impress and earn his long awaited first cap when the US takes on Chile on January 22.
Franklin, 25, was part of the last two January camps and was an unused substitute in the 2008 game against Guatemala and was forced to withdraw from camp in 2009 with a hernia.
Now after another solid season with Los Angeles, Franklin is happy to be healthy and back with the national team
"I'm training with the full team and it's good to be back," Franklin told YA. "I am just thankful that I am healthy in this camp. I just want to learn from the coaches in what they want out of me and understanding their style of play. I just want to become that complete player that has a chance to get one the field and get that first cap."
Franklin is coming off a season with the Galaxy where they finished the season with the best overall record in MLS but were eliminated in the Western Conference final. Between the regular season and the playoffs, Frankin started 27 out of 28 games.
With the season having ending in November, Franklin is rested but reading heading into camp.
"It's a long season, especially when you are in the playoffs," Franklin admitted. "It's important that when the season is over you take a few weeks off for your body but you can't take too long off because you want to come to camp fit. I made sure I rested enough but not for too long."
Along with A.J. DeLaGarza and Omar Gonzalez, Franklin is one of three Galaxy defenders in this camp. Franklin is happy to have his teammates with him and feels everyone deserves to be with the national team.
"It's good. It shows that we have some pretty talented players on our team," Franklin stated. "It's nice to see A.J. in here for his first time. He's done well and deserves every right to be here. Omar has been in this camp before and has played a game already with the US. It's good to have those two guys in camp."
Franklin was drafted by the Galaxy with the fourth overall pick in 2008 out of Cal State Northridge and was eventually named the 2008 Rookie of the Year. Over the next two seasons, Franklin has continued to be a regular player for the team and one of the better defenders in the league.
As he has been rewarded through his play with the Galaxy with a call-up, Franklin hopes that maintaining a strong level of play will impress US head coach Bob Bradley and put him in the team's plans moving forward.
"I hope so, but only how I grow as a player and how I play on the field is going to determine that," said Franklin regarding his future with the team. "So, I just hope that in the next few years I am playing at a high level and still getting better. As the years go on, I want to be consistently getting called in. That's my main goal right now."
Another issue that Franklin didn't dismiss is that being a consistent national team player opens doors to professional opportunities overseas. Although Franklin is happy on the Galaxy, he does want to take his career to Europe at some point.
"I definitely think it is good exposure," Franklin admitted. "They say it's important to get to the national team and is kind of where windows open up as far as overseas [interest] goes. It's kind of something that I think is in the future but right now I am just focused on what I have to do here at the camp and what's going to be expected for the Galaxy in 2011.
"But, for now, I am just looking to grow as a player and get better," he continued. "Whether it's an opportunity overseas or here in MLS, I just want to be that complete player."
With camp now in its second week, Franklin is focused on the tasks at hand, which are learning from the coaches and playing up to his potential. So far, he is happy with how things have gone.
"Here, it's about just being focused and being sharp," he mentioned. "Bob said the first week is about getting your feet back and playing soccer again. Being mentally into it is a big part of this. I am just coming into practice ready to listen and to learn. If you start there, the soccer will come."