Aaron Long is taking his time with the United States Men's National Team to adjust to the new head coach, new approach and new teammates.
"We have new tactics and a new style of play," Long said. "Fitting into that style play the best that I can is going to give myself the best opportunity."
Long was called into the United States Men’s National Team camp for the third-straight time and first under newly-hired head coach Gregg Berhalter.
"My long-term goal is to make the World Cup roster and make the World Cup with this team," Long said. "But there are so many more things we have to do before that."
Long is in Phoenix with the team before they take on Panama on Jan. 27 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The USA-Panama match is set to kickoff at 8 p.m. ET with coverage on ESPN2 and Univision Networks. Long and Team USA will then travel to San Jose to wrap-up camp with a match against Costa Rica on Feb. 2 at Avaya Stadium at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX.
"I think we've grown tremendously since day one," Long said of the latest iteration of USMNT. "We've been on the whiteboard a lot. We've been doing a lot of video and a lot of tactics. There's still a lot to learn, but we've grown tremendously since day one."
The Oak Hills, California, native received his first career nod for Team USA during the October FIFA International break with a start against Peru in an international friendly. Long started and played the full 90 to help the USMNT to a 1-1 draw with Peru. Following his first call up and start, he was subsequently called into the November camp and started and played the full 90 against the Italian National team.
Long has quickly risen as one of the league’s best defenders in just his second season with the Red Bulls first team. He garnered MLS’ Defender of the Year and Best XI honors as he anchored a Red Bulls defense that recorded 15 shutouts and allowed a league-low 33 goals in 34 games.
"We want to compete. We want to play games," Long said. "To compete toward a game this week is really good for us. We're excited."