College Football & Football Analyst
Al Rayyan, Qatar – This is it America The men’s national team is on a mission to change the way the world views American soccer.
What better way to change your mind than to hit EnglandFavorite to win it all at the World Cup?
Greg Berhalter’s team is fearless and ambitious. It has undeniable swagger and confidence. Much has been said and written about their being the second youngest team in the tournament (Ghana a smidge younger) and only one player – the defender DeAndre Yedlin – Has previous World Cup experience. Now they have one game under their belt – a 1-1 draw against Wales The Americans are coming off a big win heading into Game 2 against big, bad England — earlier this week.
On Thursday, US Capt Tyler Adams He acknowledged that his team is likely to issue a statement here.
“I think it’s a huge opportunity to fast-track the impact we can have,” Adams said. “These are high pressure, [high] Special moments to take the field against some of them. We respect them – it’s a mutual respect between the two teams. When you get results in a game like this, you know people start to respect the Americans a little bit more.
Added star winger Christian Pulisic: “We have to prove ourselves. We’re not at the level of some of these world powers in recent decades – but we have good teams with a lot of heart. But I think we can take it. To the next level with a successful World Cup, that could change a lot of things.”
In Monday’s tournament opener against Wales, Berhalter’s starting line-up included 10 players playing in Europe. Back side only Walker Zimmermanof Nashville SC, starring in MLS. Although he doesn’t rule out playing overseas some day.
Adams plays in the English Premier League Leeds United, has been incredibly popular in the States for the past 15-20 years. It inspired and influenced young players, especially of this generation, who grew up comfortable leaving their homes in America as teenagers with big plans to play for top European teams. Many have done it, and Pulisic is the only player to actually play in a Champions League final and win it.
Adams grew up and played in New York Red Bulls Academy before joining later RB Leipzig In the Bundesliga, he became the first USMNT player to score in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals. After three and a half years GermanyHe joined Leeds United in July 2022, where he played with the American team Brendan Aaronson.
Adams said Thursday that he grew up watching Terry Henry play for the Red Bulls. Arsenal. It’s easy for him to tune into Saturday morning Premier League matches and dream of doing it one day.
“I remember telling my mum at a young age that I wanted to play in England,” Adams said. “There’s always something special about the Premier League. Always has been and I think always will be.”
Berhalter, who played, was included Crystal Palace Early 2000s: “Everybody in America now has one [Premier League] The team they support. It’s an incredible leap. We’re very proud of our players playing in that league, and it’s like how dominant and how business-oriented the NFL is.”
Having so many Americans abroad helps with familiarity with World Cup opponents and gives each team small advantages here and there. Japan, one of the Cinderellas of the tournament, beat Germany 2-1 with eight players playing in the Bundesliga. USA have six players in EPL – will that make a difference against England?
“I don’t think it’s predictable by any means,” Adams said. “You’re going to play against a lot of quality players no matter how many times you’ve played them before. They can find solutions to suit their game and what you’re doing.
“But that being said, it’s nice to get that experience and play some of those big games against some of the best teams in England. And that opportunity to learn, grow, improve and understand the game differently. I think international football is completely different to the club game, but A chance to play against some of those players [in club games] It will help.”
Adams dismisses the notion that the USMNT will be intimidated by a team like England – saying in fact he fears nothing “except spiders”. He hopes this particular tournament will show that the Americans are capable competitors and that “American soccer is growing in the right way.”
Now, if America can beat England, it’s a team full of players like Harry Kane, Bugayo Saka And Jack GrealishAs Americans cheer for the Premier League on weekends, what kind of message does that send back home and to the rest of the world?
“It means a lot,” Adams said. “We’ve been trying to advance this thing over the last few years, and we’re moving in the right direction. So ultimately, I think capitalizing means we’re continuing to move in the right direction.”
Berhalder added: “We haven’t achieved anything as a team on the world stage. We have to use this World Cup to position ourselves and then go to the next World Cup and do the same.”
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Laken Litman covers college football, college basketball and football for Fox Sports. He previously wrote for Sports Illustrated, USA Today and The Indianapolis Star. She is the author of “Strong Like a Woman,” published in spring 2022 to mark the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Follow her on Twitter @Lagenlitman.
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