For Club and For Country: Impact of International Tournaments

On St. Patrick's Day 2015, US Men's National Coach Jurgen Klinsmann was quoted in an article praising Orlando City's Brek Shea for his development on his development as a defender. He went on to say he believes Shea has the ability to become a "very very strong left back," hinting that it may not be long before the Orlando City SC player is called up for duty on the National Team for FIFA International matches.

Two such matches come up at the end of this month, when the US Men's National Team plays in Denmark on March 25 and Sweden on March 31. But those are not the only international matches in which MLS players (and possibly Orlando City players) may be involved. The MLS web site contains a running list of active players that are being called up to national team rosters for a series of International matches set for the second half of March in a window set by FIFA for such events.

As it happens, on the night of March 17, I attended the taping of the weekly Orlando City Coach's Show at The Harry Buffalo bar in Orlando, where Orlando City VP of Communications Lenny Santiago was a guest of host Tom Traxler. They alluded to the Klinsmann article and the impact it may have on the club if the coach calls Brek Shea up for duty on the national team. During a break in the show I spoke briefly with Mr. Santiago, and unsurprisingly he indicated it's a great problem to have. It brings a lot of prestige to the club to have a National Team member on board, and according to the Orlando City Roster page, there are a number of International players who may also at some point be called up to play for their national team during the MLS season.

As a fan that is used to watching a lot of college football, where "all star" games only happen after the end of the official bowl season, it's going to take a little getting used to having players potentially whisked away for weeks at a time for the privilege of representing their country during the middle of the regular season. As part of learning about that, I plan to post periodically throughout the season about the various international friendly matches and tournaments that impact players from the MLS (and specifically those from Orlando City) as well as international tournaments that may involve Orlando City as an entire club.

Later this week I'll start by posting some information on a couple of the governing bodies that impact events and tournaments locally and regionally, both at the national team level and the club level.

This is a topic for which I'd love to hear input from fans who have followed MLS and international clubs for a long time. I know this is all new to me, but I realize it's been going on for a long time, and I'm curious how fans with long-time allegiance to a specific club feel when a key player is called up to their national team for a friendly match or a tournament during the season. Send us an email or leave a comment on the blog. We'd love to hear from you!