Oguchi Onyewu, 31, is aiming to make the U.S. World Cup roster for the third time in his career. After being a first-choice U.S. center back for years, he has combated injuries, fluctuating club situations and a rising generation of U.S. defenders for his place on the national team but still maintains hope at being one of the 30 players called in for next week's pre-World Cup training camp. He is fresh off finishing out the League Championship season with Sheffield Wednesday, where he played regularly after making a winter move from QPR.
These are his unfiltered — but edited for clarity — thoughts, emotions and perspective as told to SI.com by him (the past editions in this series can be read here), regarding the build-up to a potential call-up or disappointment of not being called up by Jurgen Klinsmann for next week's pre-World Cup camp.
I'm always a little nervous or anxious, but that's part of the game. If called in, 100 percent great, and I'll do whatever I can to be on the 23 [roster to Brazil]. If not, what can I do? It's not the end of the world, it's not the end of my career. Just got to focus on the next step.
I can only do what I can control, and what that was was playing every minute of every game that I was involved in and helping Sheffield from the position that they were in prior to me arriving to landing in a better position at the end of the season. I think both the club and myself benefitted from the stint at Wednesday. At the end of the day it's out of my hands. It's in Jurgen's hands, but I'm happy in what I achieved and what I accomplished to prove people wrong, and at the end it's all I could've done.
It's been my goal for the last year or so [to get back to the World Cup]. I've been candid about it, this is what I've been working for. This is the reason I've come to England, this is the reason I left QPR, to get the minutes that I need, to get the playing experience to just get the rhythm back and everything. Obviously everyone had issues or concerns about my physical wellbeing in terms of past injuries, and I think I've kind of brushed that all to the side in the sense that since I arrived at the club I'm, if not the player with the most minutes, one of, in the top two or three, and that's an accomplishment on its own. You can only control what you can control, and for me that was to be playing, playing good and at the end of the day, it's in the coach's hands.
Obviously the Ukraine game [on March 5] I would've loved to have had a different result, come out of that game, and a different result would've changed the perception of how the game went. Unfortunately, it didn't come out in my favor, and when that happens all the negatives are highlighted and magnified in a game in contrast to if you come out victorious. Aside from that, in terms of Sheffield, I think I did everything right. If you right now call up the manager of Sheffield, there's very few negatives that he can take out from my experience with the club, and I think my passage has been very positive. In that sense I don't think I would've changed anything.
I've been through the [World Cup call-up] process. Right now I'm just enjoying the time off, and afterward, if you get the call and e-mail, great. If you don't, then perhaps you have another call with the coach in terms of an explanation as to why. I don't know. It's a sensitive touch-and-go. You're either on one side or other of the line. If it happens, it's a sigh of relief. If it doesn't happen it's like 'OK, even though you concentrated for the last year to this goal you can't look at it as a failure, because there are so many other positives that came out of it and you just have to keep pushing on,' I suppose.