Second time out, Braun hopes for int'l debut
For the second consecutive year, Justin Braun will get a crack at his international debut.
The Chivas USA striker was invited to Bob Bradley's annual January camp at The Home Depot Center and will compete for a spot on the roster for the United States' friendly against Chile on Jan. 22.
“I’m definitely honored,” Braun told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday evening. “I’m excited to get the chance to try and prove myself again. Hopefully I’ll do well at the camp this year and get my first cap.”
Braun was with his family in his hometown of Salt Lake City when he heard the news. Needless to say, he was surrounded by a pretty supportive group for the announcement.
“It’s cool to be around my parents to see their reactions when we found out I was going to the camp,” he said. “Especially my dad; he was my biggest fan growing up. My family is definitely proud of me.”
The camp convenes on Jan. 4, which gives Braun very little time to get back to match fitness. However, the 23-year-old started preparing weeks ago knowing that a call-up was a possibility.
"I was doing my part to get into shape even before I found out [about the roster announcement] so that I could be in the best position to do well at the camp,” he admitted. “I’ve been running and training as much as possible.
"I’m trying to get fit and work on my game as much as I can. I want to be sure that I give myself the best possible chance to showcase my talent.”
Braun was invited to last year’s camp but failed to make the final roster ahead of the national team's match against Honduras on Jan. 23.
“I think my experience last year will help me,” he said. “I won’t be as nervous and I’ll have some idea of what’s going to happen. I have a good idea of what I need to do well.”
Braun is coming off his most successful season with Chivas USA. The striker netted nine goals and added three assists in 2010. He was named MLS Player of the Week on July 12 after scoring both goals in a 2-0 win at Kansas City.
Now, as Jan. 4 looms, Braun is hoping some of that MLS success will translate to the national team.
“I have to go out there and work hard everyday,” he said. “I have to keep doing the things that got me noticed in the first place. I’ll keep doing that and maybe score a couple of good goals in training. Hopefully that will help me catch the coach’s eye.”
Braun and the rest of Chivas USA will kick off their 2011 MLS season on March 18 against Omar Bravo and Sporting Kansas City.