Braun's shortened camp

Injury cuts forward’s stint with National Team short, but still a valuable experience

Justin Braun Trains with USMNT

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Carson, Calif. (January 18, 2011) - The United States National Team announced last week that forward Justin Braun was released from the January training camp after picking up an injury, a small laceration in the region of his left Achilles that required four stitches and will sideline the forward for seven days.

Braun expressed his disappointment on his Twitter page, saying he "picked up an unfortunate injury yesterday [and] had to leave camp... just going to make me work harder to get another call up."

The injury comes as a blow to the Goat's forward, who was hoping to earn his first national team cap in the friendly against Chile on January 22nd. However, the week spent training with the National Team was undoubtedly a valuable experience for Braun, and should help him going into the 2011 MLS season.

"I think it's huge," said Braun about the camp. "It gets you prepared for the [MLS] preseason. It's a huge learning experience to come in and play around some of the best players in our league. It ups your game, and you can use that [experience] to grow as a player.

Though he was quick to point out that he's still one of the "young guns", and laughed when asked if he felt like a veteran, the fact that this was Braun's second January camp helped his confidence. He knew what to expect from Coach Bradley and his staff, and knew what January camp was all about.

Former Red-and-White midfielder and current US assistant Jesse Marsch said Braun had a good week. Marsch, who has known the young forward for almost three years, recalled how he and his Chivas teammates initially got excited about Braun because of his size and strength. Now as a National Team coach, he notices different things about Braun’s game.

"He has a lot of natural gifts and instincts," said Marsch. "He is a hard worker and he runs a lot, [but] he's also very smart in the way he runs and the way he moves around the field. He's a handful for all of our defenders to deal with."

Marsch also talked about how much confidence the January camp can give a player like Braun, especially if he performs well.

"Now they know that they can play at this level," said Marsch. "They know they can play with these guys, and they gain a lot of experience and confidence from that."

Braun echoed those sentiments.

"There’s a little more confidence there now in my game. I know I’m capable of playing at this level."

Though he won’t have the opportunity to play in the match against Chile, the experience of playing in the January camp was still overwhelmingly positive for Braun. If he can use that confidence and experience to get off to a hot start for the Goats this season, that first international experience, long a dream for the 23-year-old, surely isn’t too far off.

"It would be an honor," said Braun about getting his first cap. "I think anytime you get the chance to represent your country it's something you don't take lightly. It would definitely be a humbling experience if I got that chance. It's been a dream of mine since I was four years old."