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Brad Evans Comes Home For U.S. National Team Camp, Match

Major League Soccer veteran getting in some early training with national team in advance of 2012 season

bradevans1-10-12 by Jose Romero/SB Nation Arizona
bradevans1-10-12 by Jose Romero/SB Nation Arizona

Brad Evans made his U.S. Soccer national team debut in the 2009 Gold Cup, and got to play in front of his own team's crowd at Seattle's Qwest (now CenturyLink) Field that summer.

As if that wasn't cool enough for the Seattle Sounders midfielder, if he gets into the Jan. 21 friendly for the Yanks against Venezuela at University of Phoenix Stadium, he'll be playing before his hometown crowd.

It's a happen-stance rarely afforded to pro soccer players, and Evans, a Phoenix native, always loves coming home. He's in town this week for training with the men's national team in north Phoenix before continuing camp in Southern California in advance of a pair of friendlies later this month.

The opportunity came last week, when the national team needed two players to fill two holes in the camp roster to replace a couple of defenders, Omar Gonzalez and George John. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann called in Evans and his Seattle teammate, defender Jeff Parke, leading to speculation that Evans would be playing defender for the U.S. He's played center midfield for much of his Major League Soccer career.

That part has yet to be determined, as the team has not scrimmaged while in Arizona so it's difficult to get a sense of where Evans could play on the pitch. But he's a national team veteran despite only four caps, compared to a number of teammates who are with the USMNT in search of their second or even first international match appearance.

Camp with the national team is old hat for Evans. This is his fourth overall, second in January.

"You start to get familiar with the way things go, players, just the tempo of the practices and things like that. It definitely makes things easier," Evans said.

"I feel like I'm on the older side of the group this time," said Evans, who's 26. "You've got 19, 20, 21, 22 (-year-olds). I think they look up to the older guys a little bit more. It's good to give instruction just from experience. I think it all comes down to experience."

Evans is surrounded by plenty of familiar faces. All but two of the 20 players in camp are in MLS, and Evans and the Sounders faced every team at least twice in 2011. Evans started 17 of the 20 games in which he played and scored five goals with five assists last season.

"It's all about the coaches' selections. When you're here, you make the most of it," Evans said.

While home, Evans has gotten in a couple of dinners with family, and "just kind of reset the batteries a little bit," he said. He'll be back in the state with his club, the Sounders, after the U.S. matches to begin 2012 MLS preseason training.

Tickets remain available for the Jan. 21 match in Glendale are still available at Prices start at $22. There is also an open training session in which the public is invited to meet the team on Jan. 20 at the stadium from 5-6 p.m.