LAFC’s Zimmerman called to U.S. national team, Beitashour cut by Iran
Defender Walker Zimmerman of the Los Angeles Football Club was named to the U.S. national team on Sunday, and his teammate Steven Beitashour was reportedly cut from the preliminary 35-man roster for Iran’s World Cup team without ever leaving the West Coast.
Beitashour, who was on the Iranian team in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil but did not appear in a game, had been called up just once by Iran in the last four years. However he has been playing well for LAFC and had been in regular communication with the team’s coaching staff. He had been expected to leave LAFC this week for the first of three World Cup tune-ups before coach Carlos Queiroz trimmed his roster to 24 players.
For Walker, the call-up to the 22-man U.S. team under interim coach Dave Sarachan is his second of the year. He was also summoned to the team’s winter camp in January.
The U.S. team, which will gather this week for training, will play a friendly against Bolivia on May 28 in suburban Philadelphia. The U.S. will then head to Europe for exhibitions with Ireland on June 2 and World Cup-bound France on June 9.
The U.S. roster, which includes midfielder Christian Pulisic, is a young one, with an average age of 22 years, 286 days; 15 players are 22 or younger.
“The theme is to offer opportunity to this younger generation of talented players that have potential down the road with the program,” Sarachan, a former Galaxy assistant coach, said in a statement. “We’ve had first-time call-ups in every camp since November, and this is another extension of that.
“Overall, these types of games provide great chances for players to bank key minutes in international matches.”
Zimmerman is one of only two Major League Soccer players on the squad, which includes eight players from English clubs; four each from Germany and Mexico; and one each from Belgium, Denmark, France and Portugal.
The most seasoned players summoned are Pulisic and midfielder Joe Corona, with 20 caps apiece. Three players — Alejandro Guido, Matthew Olosunde and Keaton Parks — earned their first call-up.
The U.S. roster:
Goalkeepers: Alex Bono (Toronto FC), Bill Hamid (Midtjylland, Denmark), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge, Belgium)
Defenders: Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest), Matt Miazga (Chelsea), Matthew Olosunde (Manchester United), Erik Palmer-Brown (Manchester City), Antonee Robinson (Everton), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC)
Midfielders: Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland), Julian Green (Stuttgart), Alejandro Guido (Club Tijuana), Weston McKennie (Schalke), Keaton Parks (Benfica, Portugal), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Rubio Rubin (Club Tijuana), Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain)
Forwards: Andrija Novakovich (Reading), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen)
Follow Kevin Baxter on Twitter @kbaxter11
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