D.C. United's Pines called up for joint-USMNT camp originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
D.C. United defender Donovan Pines has been added to the Under-23 roster for a joint-U.S. Men’s National Team training camp that begins on January 9 in Bradenton, Florida.
Pines is a late addition to the 26-man roster, replacing LA Galaxy defender Julian Araujo, who withdrew from camp due to illness. Pines joins fellow D.C. United teammate Paul Arriola, who was one of a dozen players aged 24 or older called up by head coach Gregg Berhalter to train alongside the US Under-23 national team as they prepare for the 2021 Olympic tournament in Tokyo.
Donovan Pines called up for the U-23 #USMNT January Camp‼️
The U-23s will train alongside the senior team through Jan. 24 at which point several players will be added to the USMNT roster for a match at the end of the month. pic.twitter.com/TdFF6U2VLx
— dcunited (@dcunited) January 9, 2021
This is Pines’ third call up to the U-23 team, following appearances in two international friendlies in 2019. It comes off of a strong sophomore season with D.C. United in which the 22-year-old logged more than 1,200 minutes at center back, proving to be a strong aerial presence in United’s backline while also tallying three goals in 16 matches.
Pines, a product of the Black-and-Red's youth system, signed a Homegrown contract with D.C. United in 2019 after the Maryland-native helped lead the University of Maryland to an NCAA Championship in 2018.
Secretary of Defense reporting for duty 🇺🇸
Donovan Pines has been added to the USA U-23 National Team Camp roster! pic.twitter.com/96zPIClu1a
— Maryland Soccer 🐢 (@MarylandMSoccer) January 9, 2021
He joins a pool of young American talent that will ultimately be cut down to form a near-complete Olympic qualifying team.
Players from the U-23 cohort will be eyeing a chance to join the 12-man senior roster for a match planned to take place at the end of the month but with no scheduled date or opponent yet.
FIFA does not mandate clubs release players for youth tournaments, which includes Olympic qualifying and the upcoming 2021 Summer Olympic tournament in Tokyo. This accounts for the absence of a number of senior team regulars, like Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic, Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie and Dortmund’s Giovanni Reyna, who meet the age requirement for the tournament but likely would not be released by their respective clubs in order to participate.
The absence of these stars presents an opportunity for less established hopefuls, like Pines, to gain crucial exposure to the senior USMNT and potentially represent his country in Tokyo.