CARSON, Calif. -- Before making his first international appearance in the senior team's final match of 2012, Josh Gatt was easily the most mysterious figure in the U.S. player pool. Few fans or media members had ever seen the highly rated 21-year-old winger -- who is getting his first extended look from Yanks coach Jurgen Klinsmann this month at the Americans' ongoing camp outside Los Angeles -- play a match, either live or on television.
After all, it's not easy to find games from Norway's Tippeligaen, where Gatt stars for defending champion Molde, on these shores. (Good luck even trying to find an illegal Internet stream of his games.)
Tracking Gatt's progress in Scandinavia has been a little bit easier for the U.S. staff, and it's clear they liked what they saw. The then-uncapped Gatt, who would have been part of the U.S. Olympic squad last year had the under-23 team qualified for the London Games, was even named to the Yanks' roster for a pair of September World Cup qualifying games against Jamaica before a hamstring injury forced him to withdraw.That's part of the reason so many observers were high on the youngster well before he started in the Americans' 2-2 draw against Russia in November. The main reason, though, is his speed. Josh Gatt is greased lightning. The former high school sprinter runs the 100 meters in 11 seconds. And with the Yanks in desperate need of wide players who can stretch the field and create chances, it was easy to see Gatt establishing himself as a U.S. regular over the next few years. (And, given the uncertainty surrounding Landon Donovan's future, maybe even competing for a starting job by the summer of 2014.)