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Ream exclusion hardly surprising given Klinsmann's Championship views

Michael Steele

The United States Men's National Team are playing in a pair of World Cup Qualifiers over this current international break and they really have nothing to lose. The Yanks, currently top of the Hex group, have already secured their place in Brazil for next year's tournament with the dos-a-cero win against Mexico in Columbus a month ago. For the Americans, the next pair of games is about pride as they hope to finish as group winners despite the title having no real merit or meaning to it.

Because of this fact and the injuries currently plaguing the side, many American fans had hoped that some fringe players would make the cut into Jurgen Klinsmann's side, including Bolton Wanderers' Tim Ream. The central defender has shown his versatility and class this season, performing well in what was a struggling Bolton side.

Despite his resurgence and positive performances, despite having been called into a USMNT camp in August, Tim Ream was never going to be called into this US Soccer camp. It's not due to Ream's showings on the pitch, it's because Jurgen Klinsmann does not rate the Championship.

The second tier of English football currently has a few American stars plying their trade in the division with Ream just one five already-capped internationals and one of a whole host of potential US players. The already-capped players are Eric Lichaj, Tim Ream, Stu Holden, Danny Williams, and Jonathan Spector but that list could expand to include the likes of Adam Henley (Blackburn Rovers), Seb Hines (Middlesbrough), Duane Holmes (Huddersfield Town), Eric Lichaj (Nottinham Forest), Will Packwood (Birmingham City), Omar Thompson (Wigan Athletic), and Zak Whitbread (Derby County) at any moment.

Both Eric Lichaj and Danny Williams have helped their teams excel this season with the former's Nottingham Forest sitting in fourth place, three points and three spots clear of the latter's Reading side. Lichaj has played every minute of Nottingham Forest's league season thus far, helping keep four clean sheets in 11 matches, allowing an average of just one goal per game. Danny Williams' reading are faring even better on the defensive front, having allowed just ten goals in those 11 matches with Williams appearing eight times.

Williams, like Tim Ream, is operating in a part of the team that the United States already have players in and he will find it difficult to break through the ranks with Jermaine Jones, Michael Bradley, and Kyle Beckerman in front of him. Tim Ream, who has played at centerback, defensive midfield, and left back this season, is also being crowded out. In defense, the pairing of Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez has become Jurgen Klinsmann's first choice while Clarence Goodson and the versatile Geoff Cameron are the clear backups. Also, like Ream, he saw a US call-up over the summer for a friendly but has seen nothing since.

Eric Lichaj is a different story, however. Despite his excellent start to the season, he has not even been given a look in by Klinsmann to a right back spot that the United States are having a lot of trouble with. At the moment, Seattle Sounders' Brad Evans is the current first choice despite being a natural central midfielder. Evans has filled role well enough to warrant his starting spot, especially with Timothy Chandler seemingly on the outs. Behind Evans is Michael Parkhurst, who is solid, if unspectacular, at best.

You see, despite trouble spots in the US side and with good individual performances put in by players plying their trade in a very competitive league, Jurgen Klinsmann has not flinched. Yes, the US have sent scouts to watch Championship matches, specifically keeping an eye on Lichaj and Williams (but not Ream to the best of our knowledge), but those players have not earned spots in the US National Team. While Tim Ream, among others, deserves another shot, it is not at all surprising that he has not had one.