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Carlos Bocanegra speaks on the presumed end of USMNT career

Mar 31, 2014, 8:48 PM EDT

WCup Roster Soccer AP

After 110 caps, 14 goals and a solid-if-unheralded career captaining the United States national team, Carlos Bocanegra is no longer a contributing member of Jurgen Klinsmann’s side.

He’s going to watch his first World Cup as a non-participant since 2002 this summer, in all likelihood. And in an interview with Goal.com, he sounds like he’s mostly got a handle on it… though he isn’t closing the door and he isn’t anywhere near ready to retire from club soccer.

Though he is acutely aware it’s been closed for him.

“They stop calling you in and it comes to an end for everybody,” Bocanegra said. “That’s how I looked at it. I gave everything for that team and I feel like I can hold my head up high and be proud, and say, ‘You know what? I don’t have regrets.’ It was them who told me they’re not bringing me in anymore.”

“If someone goes down or whatever, a change of heart, they need me back in there and he thinks I’m playing well for my club team? Great. But if not? I’ll cheer on the team just like I would any other time.”

And it’s not like Bocanegra doesn’t have a challenge to occupy his time. Chivas USA is now 1-1-2 on the season under Wilmer Cabrera, with a win over Chicago and draws against New York and Vancouver.

He’s gone 90 minutes in all four matches, and he’s staring straight-ahead at the Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday.

Personally, I’ve always been a huge fan of Bocanegra and am a bit puzzled that there hasn’t been more of a debate at whether his exclusion is righteous. When a nation is fit to keep a younger player for the experience, why not a vet for, well, the experience.

  1. midtec2005 - Mar 31, 2014 at 9:10 PM

    I’m with you on this one, I always liked him as a player. He’s a good option at left back as well as center back and certainly a smarter player than any of our current defenders. The only question is how much athleticism does he have still?

  2. mknow406a - Mar 31, 2014 at 11:41 PM

    I’m a big Boca fan and always have been. He’s been a warrior in every sense. It’s his heart and his head that’s made him great. He reads the game as well as anyone in the player pool (despite sometimes being a bit rash) and could contribute in so many ways. However, pace was one thing he never had. Even is his prime he was always just a half step too slow of being great. He made up for it in anticipation and commitment, but as you get older and lose another half step/full step, it becomes too much to overcome. Sure he could still be solid in CONCACAF qualifying, but that’s not JK’s goal. Boca isn’t going to get better, only decline… to compete against the top teams, that’s not going to be enough. So, JK is building for the future. I am sure has not forgotten Mattaus’ swan song in Euro2000. Mattaus still had the intangibles, but the wheels were gone and it was not pretty. (And no. I am NOT saying Boca was on the same level as Mattaus in his prime. Rather I’m simply pointing out that at some point the physical tools degrade just enough that even those with the best intangibles can longer compensate.)

    • talgrath - Apr 1, 2014 at 1:54 PM

      I couldn’t have said it better myself. I feel for him, but international soccer requires you to bring your best players, regardless of loyalty or “intangibles”. Perhaps he has a future as a defensive coach for the team?

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