The August FIFA international date has drawn plenty of criticism from players, fans and clubs. With the club seasons just starting, nobody wants to surrender their players for a friendly in the middle of the week. The players rush to wherever the match is, play it and then rush back to their clubs tired out from a match that doesn't even matter. It doesn't make anyone happy, except for the FA's that are sitting back and counting their money.
If players and teams are mad when players have to leave their clubs and travel for a match that doesn't matter, how do you think they are going to feel when they have to travel for a match that they don't even have a chance to play in? We're going to find out because Jurgen Klinsmann decided to call in 23 players for this midweek friendly against Mexico.
Whether the U.S. gets to dress 18 players or 23 players is irrelevant. Klinsmann decided to call in a bunch of players for this match with absolutely no intention of playing them. That is absolutely inexcusable for a midweek match and should drive every player who does not play and their clubs absolutely nuts.
If this was a FIFA double-date then calling in players who don't play would make some sense. While a player might not get into a match, he would get a handful of training sessions to impress the coaching staff, get used to what being with the national team is like and what is expected of a player at the international level. There is something to be gained being with the team during a double-date, but for a single midweek match?
The midweek friendly means that players don't join the team until Sunday at the earliest and some don't meet up until Monday. They get one real training session, a shorter, easier training session at the stadium on Tuesday, play the match and go home.
For the players who do not play in the match, they are traveling all the way to Mexico City for basically a training session and a half? That doesn't exactly sound like it is worth the hassle when club teams are in the middle of their season or getting ready to start theirs this weekend.
This August FIFA date already gets enough heat for players that have to play in the match. Ask Everton how they feel about Tim Howard flying for 11 hours to get to Mexico. Do you think Stoke City is happy that Geoff Cameron is going to fly 11 hours when he just signed with the club and their season starts this weekend?
And if they are mad about that then how does the team who releases their player for this match and he doesn't play, not because the match didn't require him, but because Klinsmann chose to invite players who never had a chance to play? At that point, it doesn't matter if the player flew four hours or 11 hours. The club and player will be upset and for good reason.