Black players are huge staples for USMNT, make history
In a sport that’s not dominated by many Black soccer players, the U.S. Men’s National Team (USMNT) has proven otherwise. Its mixture of culturally diverse players gives them an edge that has been helping them dominate their matches so far in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The USMNT took the field for the first time this World Cup in Brazil vs. Ghana and defeated them 2-1. Within 30 seconds, Captain Clint Dempsey scored a goal to put U.S. in the lead. In his debut on the U.S. Men’s National Team, John Brooks Jr. #6 Central Defender, would seal the win with a header off of a corner kick proving that he could handle the pressure of a 1-1 game to get the win. Substituted for Matt Besler who was injured in the game, Brooks made history as the only U.S. substitute to score a goal in the FIFA World Cup play in U.S. national team’s history. He has both a German and U.S. citizenship and his father is an American serviceman from Chicago. Although Brooks has never actually lived in the United States, he bears a tattoo on each of his elbows, one of Germany and the other of Illinois.
In an interview with United States Soccer Federation, Brooks said he loves being a part of the USMNT.
John Brooks (AP Photo)
“It was a big dream to come to this team. It is an honor to wear this jersey,” he said. Some call Brook’s an “American hero” after scoring the winning goal in that opening game.
There was much anticipation to watch forward, Jozy Altidore take the pitch in the World Cup, after he set a scoring streak record for the U.S. Men’s team the year before. On August 14, 2013, he scored a hat trick to get a comeback win over Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the U.S.’s World Cup match over Ghana on June 16, 2014, Altidore injured his left hamstring and was unable to participate in last Sunday’s match against Portugal, where the U.S. team took a draw. According to U.S.’s coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, Altidore will also sit out Thursday’s game versus Germany. There are hopes that he will hopefully recover if the U.S. makes it to the knockout round of the World Cup.
Jermaine Jones also made his mark on the USMNT as he scored in the 64th minute off a ricochet in a corner kick. Jermaine pushed the ball into open space about 10 feet outside of the box and blasted a rocket that penetrated the left side of the goal. Many took to social media to praise the goal, which many described as “beautiful” as the perfectly placed goal tied the game up against Portugal. Clint Dempsey would score the second goal in the 81st minute off of his body from an assist by Jones to put U.S. in the lead. Portugal would tie up the game in a goal a little over the 90th minute, leaving the draw an unlucky finish for the U.S. Men’s team. Jones has been playing for the U.S. Men’s National Team since 2011. He grew up in Frankfurt-Bonames, but also lived in Chicago, Illinois. His father is an African American U.S. Army soldier and his mother is from Germany.
DaMarcus Beasley is a solid rock for the USMNT defensive line. Over his career with the U.S., Beasley has scored 9 career goals. Currently left defender, he has spent several World Cups with the USMNT in 2002, 2006 and 2010. He is the first American to have played in four World Cups. He captained the team in 2008 in the World Cup qualifier against Trinidad & Tobago in Port of Spain. Not only has Beasley made history for his involvement with the USMNT, but he also was the youngest player to sign an MLS contract at 16 years and 10 months old where he played for the L.A. Galaxy. His quickness in the defense has kept him as a huge importance to the U.S. as they have faced teams with quick forwards with knacks for finishing.
In a United States Soccer Federation interview, Beasley says there is a strong belief felt amongst US players that he has seen over his career.
“Just like every American does, we have a belief that we can beat anybody on any given day,” Beasley said.
Tim Howard (AP Photo)
Leading in the back is USMNT goalkeeper Tim Howard. Over his career with the U.S., he has 35 shutouts and is the all-time leader in caps (the amount of international games he’s played in for his country) at 102 and wins at 55. He is known as a “supportive teammate”, as an anchor in the defense. Making key saves for the U.S. in the 2014 World Cup, Howard keeps the USMNT confident in their games going forward. So far in the 2014 World Cup, he has allowed only 3 goals in their past two matches as compared to other matches such as Netherlands who put 5 goals away against Spain and Monday’s game where Brazil put 4 goals away against Cameroon.
Howard holds a duel citizenship between America and Hungary and has two children with his wife, Laura Howard. As a child, he was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome, which he has also advocated for and is also openly Christian. Howard not only plays soccer, but also played basketball in high school where he would average around 15 points a game. He was born in North Brunswick, New Jersey and his father is African American and his mother is from Hungary.
DeAndre Yedlin (AP Photo)
DeAndre Yedlin is another African American player for the U.S. His ancestry comes from that of African American, Native American and Latvian. As one of the youngest players on the team at 21 years old (22 in July), Yedlin made his debut for the USMNT in the 2014 World Cup match vs. Portugal. His debut proved a success as he assisted teammate Clint Dempsey’s goal, which led the U.S. to a lead in the 81st minute. He attended the University of Akron in Ohio and signed a contract with the Seattle Sounders in January 2013, where he became the starting right back. His hometown is Seattle, Washington. Many soccer experts say they were shocked at the introduction of Yedlin to the roster and believe he will continue to be a huge success for the USMNT in coming World Cups.
Timmy Chandler is another player who holds a duel citizenship for Germany and the United States. His mother is from Germany and his father is an African American serviceman. He made his debut for the USMNT in March of 2011 when he played for the entire second half of a game against Argentina, which concluded at a draw. Known for his quickness and bravery, Chandler earned “Man of the Match” in the October 11 game against Ecuador. He has yet to see the field for the 2014 World Cup.
Julian Green came as another surprise for the USMNT in this year’s World Cup. From an American father and German mother, Green was born in Tampa, Florida and moved to Germany with his mother as a toddler. Another youngster on the team at 19 years old, Green proved his quickness and dynamic playing skills would be useful for the USMNT. He has yet to play in a World Cup match, but soccer experts say he too will be a good fit for the upcoming World Cup in 2018.
The USMNT hopes to get a good result in Thursday’s game versus Germany. They will either have to tie or win to move on to the 2014 World Cup knock out games. There are several other factors that can also determine if they move on, which includes the results of upcoming games between Portugal and Ghana or the amount of goals in a win/loss. But one thing is known for sure, the USMNT seems to have a great future ahead with their talented multicultural players.