Though just a teenager, Valencia midfielder Yunus Musah has big dreams for his USA soccer team, and he believes the World Cup in Qatar could elevate America’s view of the sport to a whole new level.
“One of our targets as a group is to change the way the world views American soccer,” the 19-year-old told BBC Sport. “Now we have the opportunity to do that at the World Cup.”
His rally cry comes as the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team (USMNT) is set to take on England, in a match that will either fulfill Musah’s wishes or leave the team precariously close to being knocked out of the tournament at the group stage.
M 𝐔 𝐒 𝐀 H
— U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team (@USMNT) November 18, 2022
“We’re so ambitious,” Musah said. “We want to go all the way. We’re thinking game by game. Taking it like that, the next thing you know you’re further down the competition.”
“That’s what I think we should do, although I’ve never been in a World Cup before,” he explained. “Gregg (Berhalter) has played in two World Cups — he’s a manager that knows and I trust him.”
Born in America to Ghanaian parents, Musah spent most of his young life in England and Italy.
“I am both really – English and American,” he said. “I had a great time at England. I loved every time, had a lot of camps, great people and everything.”
It was USA manager Gregg Berhalter who convinced Musah to play for America.
“It came to a point where I was playing in the first team [at Valencia] and playing in the under-19s when I went to the national team,” he explained. “Gregg called me and told me about the project with the US. He told me how much he wanted me in the team and I was just 17 at the time. For a first-team manager to want me that badly really helped my decision.”
“Things happen in mysterious ways, I was born in the US for a reason,” the philosophical teen stated. “Now I’m playing for the national team and I’m loving it. I’ve had to make a few big decisions in my career and they have paid off.”
The last time England and the USA faced off at a World Cup was in South Africa in 2010, where they drew 1-1.
Musah, who will on Friday, be toe-to-toe with one of his former academy teammates — Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka — is looking forward to the rematch.
YUNUS MUSAH (19)
Youngest player to start for #USMNT at a World Cup.
Extremely progressive ball-carrying midfielder with a rapid turn of pace.
— Inside Football Podcast (@insidefootballP) November 25, 2022
“What a special game it will be,” he enthusiastically declared. “Having lived in England, knowing how England are as a society as people, just to share the field with them and knowing the whole of England is going to be watching that game, as well as the US, it’s just a special moment so I hope it goes well.”
“It will be the biggest game of my career,” he added. “I think I will be smiling more than usual. The memories of how things turned out, it’s crazy. To play against England on the biggest stage, to share the field with hopefully Bukayo as well, that will be crazy.”
The game kicks off on Friday at 2 p.m. ET, and according to Fake News CNN, it could be “era-defining” for U.S. soccer.
“It will be the biggest test the USMNT’s so-called ‘Golden Generation’ has faced under Berhalter,” the outlet reports, “and potentially an era-defining game for a side that struggled for form throughout the qualifying rounds.”
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Author: Melissa Fine
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