BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson wasn’t surprised to be left off Jurgen Klinsmann’s preliminary 30-man U.S. World Cup roster that came out Monday.
Despite that, he praised Klinsmann's roster selections and wished luck to his national teammates.
“The group of guys that Jurgen selected are going to represent our country well in Brazil,” Johnson told Chicago-Fire.com Tuesday. “The camp coming up is going to be grueling but is the last chance for everyone to get on the same page and tested before the World Cup.”
Though Johnson has been involved in numerous camps since Klinsmann took over the national side in 2011, was there for qualifying matches and even played a game in last summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, the fifth-year Fire keeper was largely considered fourth in the pecking order behind English-based Tim Howard and Brad Guzan and long-time MLS veteran ‘keeper Nick Rimando.
“Obviously I wanted to be a part of that roster but I’m just happy to have been a part of the group that helped get the team where they are. Not being a part of the 30-man roster doesn’t mean you didn’t help the team get to the World Cup. You do anything you can for the team to get to accomplish that mission -- that’s all you can ask of yourself.”
The group of 30 players that are gathering for camp Wednesday in Palo Alto, Calif. will need to be cut down to a final 23-man roster by FIFA’s June 2 deadline date. While Johnson isn’t in the 30-man group, there remains an outside chance he could still go to Brazil should one of Howard, Guzan or Rimando suffer injury prior to that date.
“That’s an opportunity that I spoke to Jurgen about,” Johnson said. God forbid if anything were to happen, being in a position where I could get called in is still fantastic. Honestly right now though my focus is solely here on the Fire. We’ve got important games coming up before the World Cup break and we need to push and get wins. We got our first one on Saturday [ at New York] and I’m excited to be with this team.”
The stretch Johnson speaks of includes Sunday's home match vs. defending MLS Cup champions Sporting KC, a visit on May 24 to Columbus, a three-game, seven day run vs. LA Galaxy (June 1), at Colorado (June 4) and vs. Seattle (June 7) all before a likely U.S. Open Cup date on June 10 or 11.
While he may not head to Brazil in a few weeks, the 24-year-old ‘keeper recognizes he still has a lot of time on his side.
“I’m proud of what I’ve done so far in my career,” he said. “If I keep grinding away and keep the same mentality, opportunities will come and one day I’ll be at a World Cup.”