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Michael Parkhurst Not Named to U.S. 23-Man Roster For World Cup

After being a part of the initial 30-man team that headed out to Stanford to train ahead of this summer's World Cup, Crew defender Michael Parkhurst did not make the final 23 that will head to Brazil.

Christian Petersen

While you were likely stuck in traffic trying to get home from work on Thursday, Michael Parkhurst was learning he will not get the opportunity to represent his country in this summer's World Cup Finals.

Makes traffic sound a bit better, right?

United States head coach Jürgen Klinsmann announced his 23-man roster for the world's biggest soccer tournament - earlier than expected - and left off the Columbus Crew defender. There is still a small chance if there is an injury, but for all intents and purposes, Parkhurst's chances are done.

This omission was not the biggest surprise. While those in Columbus were disappointed to see their national team player sent home, the rest of the country was focused on Klinsmann's decision to leave the once irreplaceable Landon Donovan home.

Donovan has more World Cup appearances and goals than any U.S. player, yet, at 32, the L.A. Galaxy forward will not be a part of his fourth World Cup.

It appears that Klinsmann - though he didn't admit it - is looking towards 2018. His squad averages just over 27 years of age and features five players 24 years or younger and two players that can't legally drink in this country. There are only five selected players with World Cup experience

There is clearly justification for this. Klinsmann's team will face what many consider to be the group of death, going against Ghana, Germany, and Portugal. According to ESPN's SPI, the U.S. has better than a 65% chance to be eliminated at the group stage.

Klinsmann is likely playing the odds, electing to give younger players such as Julian Green, DeAndre Yedlin, John Brooks, and Mix Diskerud experience at a World Cup before they are expected to become featured players in the next cycle.

This is unfortunate for the likes of Parkhurst and Donovan, who were cast aside to make room for younger players in similar positions, but such is the life of an international soccer player.

So what does this mean going forward?

For Parkhurst - assuming he doesn't get called in for an injured player - it likely means his meaningful U.S. national team days are done. At 30-years old, there is little to no hope he will be in Klinsmann's plans for 2018, especially after younger players at the same position were selected ahead of him this time around.

This is unfortunate for a player who returned to MLS in order to get playing time to make the squad. Parkhurst was not the only defender in this situation. Clarence Goodson returned to the San Jose Earthquakes from Denmark last summer in hopes that more playing time would lead to Brazil, but he was not a member of Klinsmann's 23.

Parkhurst recently expressed his belief that he had done enough to make the squad. He told reporters before the 30-man roster was announced that he felt good after his play in camp early in the year and in the friendly against Mexico. Yet again, the life of a professional soccer player is not always peachy.

Although those involved with the Crew will be disappointed not to see their captain competing at the highest level, they will be excited to have him back on a defense that was dismantled by World Cup call-ups.

Aside from Parkhurst, center back Giancarlo Gonzalez and Waylon Francis were both named to the preliminary Costa Rican team and could both be headed south.

With Parkhurst and Francis gone last weekend, the Black and Gold's defense surrendered a season high three goals, two coming late that turned a much needed road win into a draw.

It will certainly be a disappointment for Parkhurst, but the hope is, he can focus his attention on attaining his club goals and get a Crew team, which is looking for its first win since the end of March, back on track.