NEW YORK – After his red card against the New York Red Bulls on September 16 and the subsequent two-game suspension, the last thing on Brek Shea’s mind was receiving a call-up to the US national team.
He got the unexpected news on Thursday morning during FC Dallas training.
”Two weeks ago I’m thinking the end of the world when I get sent off and I’m watching my team play a man down against one of the better teams in the league,” Shea told MLSsoccer.com. “And then I get this call. Soccer is very up and down. This definitely feels good.”
Shea will be doing some extensive travel to juggle club and country over the next couple of weeks. His travel will take him from Dallas to Chicago, back to Dallas and then off to Philadelphia in the span of 10 days. The schedule will ensure he does not miss a league match for FC Dallas while squeezing in as much time as possible at US camp.
“I’m just honored to be able to get into camp,” Shea said. “I’ll do all the traveling they ask me to if I can get to be on the team.”
Two years ago, US manager Bob Bradley called up Shea to the senior national team prior to a World Cup qualifying match at Barbados, during which Shea was an unused substitute. The FC Dallas winger says that outside of a 'thank you' for attending the Barbados camp, he’s never had an extended conversation with Bradley.
Now, the Texas native will join a 20-man roster featuring 18 American players based in Europe. Shea says he knows some of his upcoming teammates from past youth national team camps, including Aston Villa’s Eric Lichaj, who was also a member of the US Residency and is looking for his first cap.
The call-up punctuates a magical season for the 20-year-old Shea, who has appeared in a career-high 22 league matches during what has been a breakout year for him and his MLS club.
“He is over the moon and so happy and proud that he can’t wait to get there,” FC Dallas manager Schellas Hyndman said. “It’s kind of a fulfillment that he’s being called up. He’s really had a good year - not that it’s over with - and you want to applaud yourself for all the hard work and the consistency.”
That consistency was interrupted by the red card challenge on Red Bulls right back Chris Albright two weeks ago. That play and the two-game suspension brought into question the maturity that he had displayed during most of 2010.
Little did he know that the chance at redemption would come on the international stage just a few weeks later.
“You’re always hoping,” Shea said. “I’ve always wanted to play with the full team. I was thinking maybe in January camp. But I didn’t think I’d have a chance right now.”