Magee on USMNT call-up: "I have a chance, I'm motivated to leave my footprint on this team."

Magee motivated by January USMNT camp opportunity

It’s about time.

That’s one way of putting Mike Magee’s return call-up to the U.S. Men’s National Team Friday following a breakout season in which he was named the 2013 MLS Most Valuable Player.

Magee joins Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson on Jurgen Klinsmann’s 26-man roster that opens January 6 at StubHub Center in Carson, California, takes a 12-day stay in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The team will return to Southern California on January 26 in final preparation for a friendly vs. South Korea on February 1.

“I’m happy to be part of this team,” Magee told Chicago-Fire.com via phone from Los Angeles. “I put in a lot of hard work this past year and gave myself an opportunity to be in the picture.”

While Johnson is set for his fourth-straight January camp, the call-up is Magee’s first in nine years, when he took part in a similar January camp in Carson under then national team boss Bruce Arena. Magee is also the oldest uncapped player in the squad at 29 years old.

After scoring 21 goals and six assists during his MVP campaign, Magee admitted surprise at being left off the roster for the team’s November friendlies at Scotland and Austria.

Magee is one of four forwards on the roster, joining Landon Donovan, Eddie Johnson and Chris Wondolowski. His competition for the ultimate goal of being named to the final 23-man roster is more difficult when considering the likes of European-based forwards Jozy Altidore, Aron Johannsson and Terrence Boyd.

The call-up is a start though and a just reward for a fantastic season in 2013 but there is precedent for someone in Magee's situation. 

Former Fire midfielder DaMarcus Beasley as well as Pablo Mastroeni only entered the U.S. picture in late 2001 but still found their way on the 2002 World Cup roster. Magee's former LA Galaxy teammate Edson Buddle hadn't played for the national team since 2003 but a quick start in 2010 saw him make Bob Bradley's final roster.

"What's exciting is to always figure out, maybe find two, three, four guys that will break into that inner circle of the senior team," Klinsmann said in a video interview posted to U.S. Soccer's YouTube channel. "This is the opportunity now, proving in the next four weeks to go."

Magee's clear goal is to continue to push his way towards being one of the top 23 players in the U.S. come the June 2 World Cup roster deadline.

“I think more than anything the best players in the country make the World Cup team,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what you did in 2012 or 2013 for that matter. Obviously it helps but I believe the best players in the pool make the World Cup team.

“I have a chance. I’m motivated to leave a footprint on this team.”