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Pickens hoping for first cap with USMNT

Commerce City, Colo. - Goalkeeper Matt Pickens had a standout season for the Rapids in 2010, setting new career bests in wins and goals against average.

A month after lifting his and the club's MLS Cup trophy, he was invited to the U.S. Men’s National Team training camp in January.

“I think anytime to get called in to these camps, it’s an honor and a reward,” said Pickens. “It goes to show the hard work you put in is being recognized.

“It’s another opportunity for you to prove or show yourself to Bob (Bradley), and you never know what’s going to happen from there. But obviously that’s the first step is to get into that camp and prove what you can do against all elite players in the league.”

Pickens will be attending his fourth national team January camp after receiving invites in 2007, 2008, and 2009. He also participated in training camp with the squad in November 2008 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.  

However, the ‘keeper has yet to make an appearance or be part of a final 18-man roster with the senior team.

“I haven’t’ had a cap yet,” he said. “It’s one of those things I’m hoping to get one of these times. It would be nice, but there are no guarantees. Being that this is my fifth camp overall, I would love to get in a game or at least get on the bench and see what it’s all about.

“That’s what your goal is all the time, just to get that number one. To get that monkey off your back would be nice. Going to camp is the first step, and then going from there.”

A seven-year veteran, Pickens hopes to show the U.S. coaching staff that he’s continued to progress since they last saw him up close. 

“I think you’re a different player every year,” he said, “because you learn something new every year. You’re never going to stop learning.”

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