After a standout rookie season that saw Corey Baird earn the MLS Rookie of the Year award in 2018, the Real Salt Lake striker received his first call-up to the senior U.S. Men’s National Team for Head Coach Gregg Berhalter’s first camp.
Being called into the national team is a feather in the cap for Baird, but he was no stranger to success prior to his arrival at RSL having won three straight NCAA national championships with Stanford during an illustrious college career. The success, however, isn’t something Baird dwells on and has already set more lofty goals for himself.
“All of this has happened really fast and I haven’t really had a chance to reflect on everything,” Baird said from USMNT camp in Arizona. “To be honest, I’m not sure I even really want to look back. I like moving forward and looking forward has gotten me this far. I enjoy these challenges.”
Sharing a crest with former USMNT members and RSL veterans Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando and Tony Beltran, Baird has received valuable advice about working on the international stage.
“All of the stuff they’ve taught me throughout my rookie season really speaks volumes to the professionals that they are. They’re true professionals,” Baird said. “They take care of their bodies and prepare for matches like professionals. I try to use them as role models and follow in their footsteps. There’s a reason they’ve had the careers that they’ve had.”
Thus far Baird has learned many on-field lessons having been surrounded by a group made up of all-MLS players that Head Coach Gregg Berhalter has selected.
“I’ve learned a lot from the speed of play from these guys who really hone their craft,” Baird explained. “Their movements on and off the ball have really taught me how important being the best at each position is.”
Will Baird earn his first cap as a member of the USMNT? Find out as Baird and the rest of the USMNT face Panama in an international friendly on Sunday, January 27, 2018 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 beginning at 6:00 p.m. MT.