Serendipity is a funny thing in the soccer world, especially for Orlando City SC forward Duncan McGuire.
He never would have expected his first call-up to the senior U.S. Men's National Team camp to happen at the same place he got his start as a professional athlete. As fate would have it, though, that's exactly what happened as the second-year forward got the call last week that USMNT Head Coach Gregg Berhalter would bring McGuire in, along with many young MLS players, to January Camp for eight days to train and showcase their talents in, of all places, Orlando, Florida.
"It's definitely good to be back at the home where I had a great season last year and I grew as a player," McGuire said before U.S. training from Orlando Health Training Ground at Osceola Heritage Park on Thursday. "It's the place where it all began for me, the journey, so it's definitely good to be back. No complaints about being back in Orlando."
Over the next week, McGuire and his U.S. compatriots will train and play at Orlando Health Training Ground, the same place that Orlando City calls home. It was a decision that just made sense for Berhalter and the federation.
"The first thing is the weather is usually great," Berhalter said. "And then Orlando City's been a fantastic club for us, always supportive with great facilities here. So for us, it's an ideal situation."
The situation for McGuire is also ideal, getting the call-up to the national team after only playing for a year at the pro level. The Creighton grad took the league by storm after scoring 15 goals in his rookie campaign, earning a call-up to the U.S. U-23 Men's National Team late last year before starting 2024 with the senior team call. For Berhalter, McGuire's standout play earned him a spot on the January Camp roster.
"It was all about him and his play," Berhalter said. "He had a fantastic year with Orlando. He scored 15 goals, was a standout player, so he earned his call-up. It's great when players put themselves in positions to earn things like that. So far, he's looked good. I saw sharp movements behind the backline, inside the penalty box, and clever movements. So as we move this week, we're gonna learn a lot more information, but he's made a good impression."
"It's a huge accomplishment for myself personally," McGuire said. "It's something that I've wanted since I was a young kid playing soccer growing up, watching the national team at the World Cup and all the tournaments they play. To be called up for a camp is definitely a huge accomplishment and definitely, really pushing me to want more."
From now until next Tuesday, McGuire will look to impress the coaching staff ahead of their international friendly against Slovenia on Jan. 20 in San Antonio. Even further along this summer is the opportunity for Duncan to earn a spot with the U.S. Olympic team in this year's Summer Olympic Games in Paris, France. It's a chance for the young forward to continue his rise both domestically and internationally.
"I'm trying to leave a good impression to the coaches of my abilities and what I can do," McGuire said. "I'm definitely trying to learn as much as possible and be open to criticism and learn as much as I can, because there are a lot of guys here that are more experienced than me, and there's a lot of knowledge I can gain from them. So I'm just trying to learn as much as possible this next week."