LEHI, Utah – Real Salt Lake forward Robbie Findley is in his fourth season in MLS and has been on Bob Bradley’s radar since his rookie season. In 2007, he saw his first US cap as a late sub in a friendly against Switzerland. Since then, he has seen three starts, all in friendly competitions earlier this year.
But the most pivotal point of his National Team evolution is immediately before him, as he's in camp with 30 other World Cup hopefuls trying to vie for one of 23 spots on Bradley’s final roster that will head to South Africa.
Findley has his share of supporters in this quest, including teammate and pal Kyle Beckerman. The pair have been like two peas in a pod since joining Real Salt Lake in separate trades during the 2007 season.
The teammates bonded, as they have a number of things in common, such as, as Beckerman told MLSsoccer.com, “We both like to fish, and we both like similar music and we both have the same kind of sense of humor.”
Being on the fringes of the National Team is another thing they have in common. Neither player has fully asserted themselves to be a shoe-in for important matches, but both have received a number of recent looks, including being in camp together earlier this year along with teammate Nick Rimando.
Now Findley is out on his own, trying to show that he measures up against the cream of the crop in US Soccer. Beckerman believes that he belongs.
"We don’t have a player of his style [on the National Team] with that speed," said the RSL captain, "and he also can hold it up. He’s shown that he can score."
Unfortunately, Findley has yet to show that in the US colors. He did notch an assist with the U-23 Olympic team during a CONCACAF qualifying match, but the speedster has yet to open his account with the senior squad. Beckerman feels it’s only a matter of time.
“He’s really only had, I think, three games," he says, "and one of the games we were down to 10 men, and so he hasn’t really had the best entrance into the National Team."
But time is running out to make inroads on the biggest benchmark: making the final 23-man roster for South Africa. Findley is taking a reserved approach while in camp on the East Coast, and is keenly aware that just being in consideration at this point is an enormous endorsement.
"There are a lot of guys here that have been doing this a while and know the ropes, and it's been good talking to them and getting along with them,” he told reporters in Hartford, Conn., where the US face the Czech Republic on Tuesday night. “This isn't something a lot of people get to do."
Perhaps the friendly match – after which Bradley has said he'll make his final decisions on the 23-man roster – will give Findley one final chance to show everyone that he belongs on the squad.
"Whatever I get, I'll take it," Findley said. "If I'm coming in off the bench, I can add that little spark. If I'm starting, I want to start from the get-go and be dangerous, and cause some problems for their defense.”
Regardless, Findley knows he has a huge supporter and confidant 2,300 miles away. Even though Beckerman didn't make the cut, he is unabashedly in his friend's corner.
“I think he should go," Beckerman said. We'll see if Bradley agrees.