Nguyen More Comfortable in Second Straight MNT January Camp
After moving through the U-18, U-20 and U-23 National Teams, Lee Nguyen made his senior team debut on June 2, 2007 against China. Nearly nine years later, he hasn’t lost focus on becoming a mainstay as he enters his second consecutive January camp.
“It’s great,” Nguyen said this week. “A lot more familiar faces and more comfortable being here with coach Jurgen and all the assistant coaches and staff.”
Nguyen, 29, has established himself at the club level with the New England Revolution, appearing in at least 30 of the club’s 34 games in each of the last four seasons. He’s scored 34 goals and added 24 assists from his midfield role, including a career-high 18 goals in 2014, which led to being named a finalist for MLS MVP honors.
The McKinney, Texas, native took a few weeks to travel to Thailand and Vietnam during the recent offseason, but entered camp fit and ready to show his best.
“Everybody came in here with great fitness levels, and we were able to progress pretty quickly,” he said. “The level has been high. Every day you try to improve, and I’m feeling that week by week.”After staying on the National Team radar with four appearances since returning to the scene in 2014, Nguyen has aspirations to help the MNT in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers and Copa America Centenario this summer. But for now it’s about the January Camp and preparing for the upcoming friendlies against Iceland and Canada.
“You think a little bit, but you have to take care of your body and go day by day, because you don’t want to think too far ahead,” Nguyen said. “It’s obviously our goal to prepare now for that, but it does start here.”