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Chelsea defender gets reward for good season with USMNT call-up for Gold Cup

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Soccer: 2016 Olympic Qualifying -Colombia at USA Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

A month shy of his 22nd birthday, Matt Miazga’s career appears to be back on track.

This time last year, he was all but written off, packaged off to Vitesse on the final day of the transfer window, seemingly because nothing else could be arranged. His initial signing in January from New York RB was a surprise, the start given to him by Hiddink against Aston Villa was a surprise, as was the quick fall back out of favor at half-time of the very next game.

The twelve months in Vitesse seem to have done Miazga a world of good however. After a slow start, he ended up establishing himself as a key player in their four-man backline, playing on his weaker side as the left-sided center back and developing not just defensively but also improving in possession, distribution, and all those attributes so important these days for ball-playing defenders.

It’s unclear what’s next for Miazga this summer, though another loan is expected, perhaps back to Vitesse, even. What is clear however is what he will be doing for the next month or so.

On Sunday, he was called-up to the US Men’s National Team for the upcoming Gold Cup (July 7-26). The Gold Cup is North America’s version of the Euros, except it runs every two years and tends to see teams (at least from the big two of Mexico and USA) that are not necessarily the strongest available. Think about them more as ‘B’ internationals, though they do count as full competitive matches for FIFA purposes.

Miazga, with two caps to his name, is just one of three European-based players on the 23-man roster alongside Nottingham Forest’s Eric Lichaj and KAA Gent’s Kenny Saief, who recently completed his switch of allegiance from Israel to his country of birth.

Here’s the full roster:

GOALKEEPERS: Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (New York City FC)

DEFENDERS: Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest), Matt Miazga (Chelsea), Justin Morrow (Toronto FC), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

MIDFIELDERS: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC), Kelyn Rowe (New England Revolution), Kenny Saief (Gent), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)

FORWARDS: Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution), Dom Dwyer (Sporting Kansas City), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC)