CARSON, Calif. – For Dax McCarty, the team comes first. Always.
Ask the midfielder a question about his play during the United States national team's 17-day training camp, and he responds with an answer focusing on the entire squad.
"I would say it's been pretty successful camp for everyone in terms of trying to get the basic concepts of what the national team is all about," the D.C. United midfielder told MLSsoccer.com after Friday's training session at the Home Depot Center, where the Americans will play Chile on Saturday (10 p.m. ET, TeleFutura, ESPN3.com).
"Obviously, this is my second camp so I've been through this a little bit, but for all the young guys that haven't, they've really learned a lot. We've really come together. It's been a good bonding experience for guys that haven't been part of the national team."
McCarty, who earned his first cap coming on for Michael Bradley against Slovakia in November 2009, was a member of last year's January camp as well. He attributes that achievement, of course, to the success of his club squad.
"My first call up was pretty much because our FC Dallas team had a fantastic end to the 2009 season, so it all goes back to if you're contributing to a successful team," he said.The 23-year-old picked up an injury during the early stages of the 2010 Major League Soccer campaign and struggled to recover, but regained enough form to help FC Dallas reach MLS Cup.
Bob Bradley noticed the improvement and called the midfielder once again.
"He's always a solid guy who when he comes in has a good mentality for the game, a good mind for the game," the US manager said of his charge. "I think what we've seen in this camp is that he has confidence in this group. He knows that he's been here more than the rest, and I think overall it's been a good camp."
The U-20 and U-23 veteran has enjoyed a strong showing on the practice fields here – not that he'd single himself out.
"We're all in the same situation," he said. "There are no agendas. It's everyone having fun. We're all trying to learn. We all know we have a lot of room for improvement, and that's the one thing that bonds us: We can all help each other out."
McCarthy, who was traded to D.C. United after Portland selected him in November's Expansion Draft, enjoys combining with his former teammate Brek Shea on and off the field – the pair starred in an enjoyable "Day in the Life" video for US Soccer earlier in the week – but he's also hoping to get some time alongside an even newer face.
"Mikkel Diskerud is another guy that likes to play similar to me in the middle of the field," the North Carolina alum said. "He's a guy who has a lot of skill, so I've enjoyed getting to know him a little bit better and playing with him on the field."
McCarty, however, will be happy with any of the guys around him.
"Like I said, everyone in camp is a pleasure to play with."
Noah Davis covers the United States national team for MLSsoccer.com Follow him on Twitter at @noahedavis.