With six of his teammates away on international duty, LAFC midfielder Benny Feilhaber talked about the significance of March international camps during a World Cup year.
“They’re incredibly important, Feilhaber said following training on Tuesday. “For the preparation and chemistry of a national team, I think you want to try and get as many games as you possibly can before that final camp going into the World Cup. It’s essential to just kind of get everyone on the same page. Get an idea of who is going to be there.”
A member of the U.S. National Team during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Feilhaber had the benefit of playing with the national team during the 2009 Confederations Cup, a tournament the US narrowly lost in the final to Brazil 3-2.
A dress rehearsal as it was for the World Cup in South Africa the following year, Feilhaber said despite his success with the national team at the Confederations Cup, he never felt guaranteed a place in the World Cup squad. And that’s why arriving at these camps on top of your game is so important.
“They want to see you being in the best form possible going into the World Cup. The coaches all want to see their players being in good form and playing for their club teams. I think that’s a big issue with a lot of countries,” Feilhaber said. “They want to bring them in. See where they’re at. How they are physically. Where they are mentally.”
From LAFC, Laurent Ciman, Omar Gaber, Marco Ureña, and Carlos Vela are all in the mix to represent their respective countries at this summer’s World Cup. Feilhaber lent his perspective on the focus they’ll need at this final international camp before the provisional World Cup squad lists are due in May.
“It’s a time to be fully concentrated as a player and give everything that you can. And be a good team player as well because 23 guys are going be going to the World Cup. Not everybody going will be playing at the World Cup though. It’s a group of 23. I think coaches take all of that into consideration. How players fit in with the group on the field, but off the field also. Who is going to be a good teammate, who is going to help other guys, all that kind of stuff,” Feilhaber said.
Asked what sending four players to the World Cup would mean to LAFC, Feilhaber called it a lucky problem for the Club to have.
“It says we’ve got a lot of good players. And it says we’re going to be missing some guys around the World Cup. It’s tough but it’s obviously something that we knew going into it. We’ve got players that are international-caliber players, we’re going be missing them every once and a while, so it’s going to be next man up for us.
“But that’s fantastic for us to have that kind of quality on the team.”