May 31, 2014, 9:20 AM EDT
With 37 starts this season in the Premier League, Geoff Cameron is one of only four U.S. national team players who started the team’s first send-off series game who’s getting regular playing time in one of Europe’s top five leagues. The unique part about Cameron’s role with Stoke City, though? He’s been playing out of position. Right back isn’t his trained position (midfield) or the role developed into while blossoming with the Houston Dynamo (central defense), but it’s the role that’s cemented his place in one of the best leagues in the world.
This summer, the former Rhode Island Ram is in contention to start at one of his more accustomed spots: Central defense. With a month’s training ahead of the U.S.’s World Cup opener against Ghana (June 16), Cameron has time to reacquaint himself with a role in the middle. Whether that’s enough to unseat Omar Gonzalez as Matt Belser’s partner in the middle will be played out over the final weeks before the U.S. leaves for Brazil.
Full name: Geoffrey Scott Cameron
Hometown: Attleboro, Massachusetts
Position: Central defender, right back, central midfield
Caps/goals: 25 caps, 1 goal
Club: Stoke City
Best moment in a U.S. shirt: Stepping into midfield for the U.S.’s June 2013 World Cup qualifier against Panama, Cameron was one of the best players on the field as his team produced one of its best performances of CONCACAF’s final round. Anchoring a midfield build around partner Michael Bradley, Cameron not only protected the U.S’s defense but set up the game’s final goal in a 2-0 victory. The performance gave fans another reason to question whether Jones was the best partner for Bradley in the U.S. squad.
Starter or squad player at World Cup? Starting ahead of Gonzalez for the U.S.’s first send-off game against Azerbaijan, Cameron is clearly in the picture to claim the starting spot next to Besler. With Klinsmann having always seen his best position as central defense, a prolonged spell training at the position may be enough to convince the U.S. head coach to go with the former Dynamo on June 16 in Natal.
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