Team chemistry helping U.S. national team 

October, 9, 2011

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- There's a new German coach and yet another new German-trained player, but the U.S. national team's good old "American spirit" appears to be alive and thriving.

Or as backup striker Juan Agudelo put it on Twitter on Sunday, a day after the Yanks' 1-0 victory over Honduras in Miami, "Team Chem is so sick."

Camaraderie among U.S. players has significantly contributed to past national team successes under both Bruce Arena and Bob Bradley. The first thing you pick up as a reporter on the national team beat is how much these guys really like each other. Every camp is a reunion for the veterans -- "a chance to get together with the boys," as Carlos Bocanegra has said -- and also a pledge week, with newcomers continually added to the mix. But the vets through the last two regimes have always made it a point to welcome anybody new, or anybody who's been out of the team for a while. And that appears to be continuing under new coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

The most recent exhibit is Danny Williams, the 22-year-old German-born and -trained son of an American serviceman who in the past week and a half secured his U.S. passport, took part in his first U.S. training camp and became the first new player capped in the Klinsmann regime.

"He seems like he was always part of that group," Klinsmann said of Williams this week. "It's fascinating to see these pretty young players coming to an established senior national team and they adjust right away."

Luke Cyphers is a former senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.
Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine. He has covered American and international soccer since 2002.