Seattle Sounders forward Eddie Johnson got his long awaited call-up back to the U.S. Men's National Team on Monday.
Johnson leads the Sounders with 14 goals this season and has been waiting four years for the national team to call him up again. He last earned a roster spot on the preliminary roster for the World Cup in 2010. Johnson has 41 caps and 12 goals in national team appearances.
Despite the call-up, Johnson is keeping his head and heart focused with the Seattle Sounders and their playoff aspirations this year. Transcribing courtesy of Don Ruiz of the News Tribune:
"Everyone asked me if getting called back to the National Team was a goal of yours, and yeah it is. Working hard and winning games in Seattle and trying to win MLS Cup, anything after that I was just a bonus for me. I want to share it with my teammates-they push me week in and week out-and my coaching staff for believing in me."
Johnson had an enigmatic relationship with the MLS prior to regaining the hearts of Sounders fans and supporters in Seattle. He was one of the youngest players to sign with the MLS in 2001 and eventually found his way to Europe. He struggled on loan, with limited playing time, and played for three different teams in three years.
"Bouncing around is frustrating, but it makes you mentally strong over there because you're over there by yourself. It's not like you have family close to you. You have to deal with real situations like a man and overcome that adversity. It's not easy."
The U.S. men's team has two remaining qualifying matches against Antigua and Barbuda and Guatemala as they attempt to qualify for the 2014 World Cup. The U.S. is currently tied atop Group A with Guatemala with seven points. Johnson is eager for the opportunity and ready to make his mark.
"This is all new to me...I'm looking forward to it because this roster has some unbelievable players and I can't wait to get in and compete with these guys and push each other for the preparation for these two World Cup qualifiers. Yeah, I'm the new guy and this is all new to me."