Does one year with the MNT make you a veteran?
That question was posed to LA Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes during the USA’s annual January camp in Carson this week.
“If the coaching staff considers me a veteran, then I’m a veteran,” said Zardes. “If they don’t, then that’s ok because I actually look up to Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Jermaine Jones, Matt Besler – those guys are clinical and they’re consistent. And that’s what I look forward to – I look forward to being like those guys and repeating good work ethic on and off the field.”
Zardes made his international debut last January against Chile, and went on to appear in 19 matches throughout the year, tying Claudio Reyna’s record set in 1994 for most appearances by a player in their debut year with the U.S. National Team.
“Now that I’m coming into my second January camp I feel like I’m much more prepared because I know how the system works,” Zardes said. “It helps me as a player be more confident coming in. I know I have to work hard day in and day out because there’s a lot of great American soccer players that are coming up, and everybody is always trying to get a spot on the roster.”
The Hawthorne, Calif, native notched his first international goal in the USA’s stunning 4-3 come from behind win against Netherlands in Amsterdam, then scored in the first game of 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying against St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Entering his fourth season with LA Galaxy, the 24 year-old doesn’t take any of his call-ups for granted.“I go day by day,” Zardes added. “Tomorrow is not guaranteed. The way I see it, if an opportunity presents itself, I’m going to seize it. For me getting called in to this camp, I’m taking every opportunity to give it my all. If I get called in to various camps to come, as far as the World Cup qualifiers or the huge tournament in the summer, the Copa America Centenario, I’m going to seize the moment and the opportunity.”