Second consecutive USMNT call-up for Impact full-back highlights stunning progression
Head coach Gregg Berhalter’s second camp with the United States men’s national team will have a slightly different look than the first, as only 14 players from the January camp will take part in this one as well. Because it’s taking place during the official FIFA break, Berhalter can pick from the full pool of players for the upcoming friendlies against Ecuador and Chile.
The Impact’s left-back, Daniel Lovitz, who received his first international call-up in that January camp, will be among those returning to this one.
“I didn’t expect it. Luckily, this time around, I was able to focus on the club and on playing and getting into the schedule and rhythm of the season,” explained Daniel Lovitz. “I knew this was going to be a possibility and this was a date I had circled. I guess I’m just looking at it as an awesome way to spend the week off.”
The Impact’s American international had played all 90 minutes in both games during the first camp, games which the United States won while allowing no goals.
“I was excited for him,” said Lovitz’s compatriot, Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush. “For him to be called in, it shows how much he excelled during the camp in January, and it shows the level he’s been playing at in Montreal. It’s nice that US Soccer is paying attention to him up here, because they may not have in the past.”
Adapting to the position
When Daniel Lovitz first joined the Impact on trial during the 2017 training camp, he had never played as a full-back before, considering himself more of a midfielder instead. Now over two years later, he’s fighting to be considered the best in that position for the USMNT.
It’s not the type of story you see every day, and it isn’t necessarily something the man from Pennsylvania has stopped to think about just yet.
“Honestly, I haven’t sat down, taken a step back, and tried to think about it,” added Lovitz. “I don’t want to, I have the rest of my life to do that. I just want to focus on getting better every day. That’s been my job and it’s been a great part of being in Montreal, to have just one position to focus on. It allows me to look at it as a craft and try to perfect it by trying to get better every day.”
He’s certainly dominated the position for the Impact; in the past two seasons, he’s started 42 games for the Bleu-blanc-noir, including 29 just last year, participating in a grand total of 58 regular season games. He’s continuing on that track this year, having played the full 90 minutes in both of the Impact’s games to start the 2019 season.
“His adaptation to the position has been phenomenal,” added Bush. “He’s been a crucial part of the defense in the past two years, and we can only hope that it continues that way.”
“I feel very comfortable but in no way am I content,” said Lovitz. “I think I need to be much better for the team and for myself. I’m motivated by that, and to have this additional source of competition at this level is fantastic. It’s what I dreamed of. I don’t want to focus on anything other than becoming better and achieving the success I know I can at that level.”
This will be the American national team’s last training camp before the 2019 Gold Cup. With the USMNT already qualified, Berhalter’s job now consists of finalizing the 23-man squad he’ll choose for the continental tournament. For now, all signs point to Lovitz being a part of that squad.