For 21-year-old 'keeper Sean Johnson, the introduction to the senior national team was about one thing: learning.
The second-year Chicago Fire stopper got his first taste of the senior national team this month, participating in Bob Bradley’s three-week camp that will come to a close with Saturday's friendly against Chile at the Home Depot Center.
At the camp, Johnson learned plenty about Bob Bradley and his staff, the rhythm of a US camp and, most importantly, he learned more about becoming a successful goalkeeper.
“Camp’s been going well,” Johnson told MLSsoccer.com. “It’s been a really good experience. I take away a lot from playing with these players and training with this coaching staff. … I’ve learned a lot.”
Already an impressive shot-stopper, the 6-foot-4 Johnson spent camp getting schooled by a pair of veteran 'keepers on how to better read the game – a prospect that should leave Fire fans feeling excited.
"It helps that there are a couple of veterans in the goalkeeper group with Nick Rimando and Matt Pickens," he said. "I’m able to look to them and they’ve been able to help me out with all my questions and give me good advice.”
Johnson, who said he thinks he’s playing pretty well in camp, is hoping he’ll be able to take all his new knowledge into MLS play. The Fire certainly need him to – the club lost two starting defenders this offseason, meaning Johnson will have to bear more of the weight in the back in 2011.
“I think all of this will definitely be big for me,” he said. “I’ve played a lot of soccer this offseason, going from [the Generation adidas trip to] Spain to national team camp and after this going to preseason, so I think I‘ll be sharp going in. Hopefully I can just translate all of these learning experiences to make myself better and hopefully have a more successful season in 2011.”
Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.