DOHA, Qatar — Tyler Adams has been named USA captain for the World Cup ahead of their opener against Wales on Monday.
Adams, who has captained the US nine times in 32 international matches, wore the armband in seven of his 12 World Cup qualifying appearances.
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“It’s a great honor for me, obviously, to be named captain of this team,” Adams said. “A very young team, but a lot of credit to my teammates because anyone on our leadership council can wear that armband and represent us proudly and represent us the right way.”
Throughout coach Gregg Berhalter’s tenure, responsibility has rotated among various players on the team’s leadership council, with Christian Pulisic, Walker Zimmerman and Weston McKennie holding the role since World Cup qualifying began.
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“There was something in the last three and a half years, we’ve been working with a leadership council and we’re very open and we ask them, ‘Hey, what do you want to do for the World Cup?’ And they thought it would be better to have a captain named for the World Cup,” Berhalter said.
“We are proud to announce that Tyler is the captain of the World Cup. We believe that he has great leadership skills, he leads with his actions and his words.”
Before the tournament, President Joe Biden addressed the team in a brief call wishing the team luck.
“I know you’re the underdog, but I’ll tell you what man, you’ve got some of the best players in the world on your team and you’re representing this country and I know you’re going to play your heart out. So, let’s surprise them all.” Biden told the team.
“And keep trusting each other, play as hard as you can for yourselves and your families, your teammates, and the whole country is rooting for you.”
Adams, 23, will be the youngest US captain in a World Cup since Harry Keough (22 years, seven months, 17 days) in 1950 and Berhalter’s team will be the second-youngest team in the tournament behind Ghana.
“Tyler is a guy who has matured beyond his years and you know it from the moment you start talking to him,” Berhalter said. “I can go on and on about Tyler’s strengths, but I think the other thing about him is his humility and he’s a guy that teammates know exactly what they’re going to get from him.
“They know that he will go out on the field and compete. They know that he will think about the game. They know that he will be in the details of the game. He is not just a competitor, he is also a strategist and I think that helps the group because it calms people down and is a guy that people get behind.”
The Leeds United midfielder previously played for the US at the U-17 World Cup in 2017 before making his senior team debut against Portugal later that year.
A day after midfielder Weston McKennie and right-back Sergino Dest said they were healthy and ready to play, Berhalter wasn’t ready to proclaim that neither man was fit for 90 minutes.
“They’ve made great progress,” Berhalter said. “We see them as capable of playing the game. For how long? We have to see.”
“That’s part of having five subs. They can come into the game or start them up and take them out of the game when we feel like they’re getting close to that threshold, but they’re both definitely in a position to help this team out.” morning.”
Brenden Aaronson, Adams’ Leeds teammate, is the prime candidate to play central midfield should McKennie be constrained, while it is less clear who would replace Dest at right-back with DeAndre Yedlin, Joe Scally and Shaq Moore, all options.
FIFA announced on Sunday that the match between the United States and Wales will be refereed by Qatari officials, led by Abdulrahman Al Jassim.
Al Jassim officiated three games in the Gold Cup in 2019, including the Americans’ 1-0 win against Panama. He also refereed the United States’ 6-0 victory over New Zealand in the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup round of 16, which featured Adams, Josh Sargent and Luca de la Torre.