CHICAGO (June 20, 2018) – The U.S. Women’s and Men’s National Team autographed, game-issued jerseys from their matches in June are now available via an online auction with all net proceeds going to benefit the You Can Play Project.
Both teams donned rainbow-numbered jerseys in recognition of LGBTQ Pride Month for their respective pairs of matches. In cooperation with the Women’s National Team Players Association and the U.S. National Soccer Team Players Association, U.S. Soccer is offering one jersey per player at auction to support The You Can Play Project, an organization dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, coaches, and fans without regard for sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
The online charity auction has begun and will conclude at 10 a.m. ET on Friday, June 29. The bidding will start at $300 for each jersey.
The U.S. WNT players wore the pride-inspired jerseys against China PR on June 7 in Sandy, Utah, and on June 12 in Cleveland. The U.S. MNT players wore the pride-inspired jerseys on June 2 vs. Ireland in Dublin and on June 9 vs. France in Lyon. The jerseys from the first game of each U.S. team's two-match set are available through the auction.
Last year's jersey auction to benefit the You Can Play Project raised more than $65,000 combined between the WNT and MNT jerseys.
In addition this year, fans can purchase jerseys customized with their choice of rainbow numbers through store.ussoccer.com, as well as a scarf or hat featuring a rainbow “ONE NATION.” One-hundred percent of net proceeds on the sale of these limited-edition items will also be donated to The You Can Play Project.
The “ONE NATION.” design was inspired by U.S. Soccer’s commonly used “ONE NATION. ONE TEAM.” mantra and draws from U.S. Soccer’s belief in promoting a culture of diversity, inclusivity and global connectivity as a country and fanbase.
In recognition of LGBTQ Pride Month, the U.S. Men's National Team wore pride-inspired rainbow numbers during its June friendlies against Ireland and France.Read more
About this time last year, Cameron Carter Vickers didn’t know what to think about Josh Sargent upon his surprise addition to the Under-20 Men’s National Team. The 17-year-old forward arrived at the U-20 MNT’s pre-World Cup training camp in Korea Republic just a few days after leading the U-17 MNT to a runner-up finish at the Concacaf U-17 Championship.
Sargent went from captain to new kid on the block. From a veteran U-17 presence to interloper in a well-established U-20 squad. As a defender, Carter-Vickers went against the young striker every day in camp. He still had questions about the mop-topped redhead from St. Louis.
“I wasn’t too sure about him,” Carter-Vickers said. “I wasn’t too sure that he was that good of a player, or if he was going to be what we needed.”
Game day brought an end to any uncertainty. After suffering an early 2-0 deficit to open the
U-20 World Cup, the team desperately needed a goal in their opening match against Ecuador. Sargent delivered. His poised 36th-minute strike put the USA on the board. When the U-20s needed an equalizer, Sargent answered once again 18 minutes later. The performance cleared the air of any lingering doubt.
“As soon as that first game, I could see that he could strike a ball well,” Carter-Vickers said. “Obviously, he scored two goals and I thought, yeah, I can see why he’s here.”
Almost a year to the date of his debut with the U-20 MNT, Sargent earned his first appearance for the senior squad on May 28 against Bolivia in Philadelphia. Like his debut with the 20s, the now-18-year-old made an instant impression. In the 52nd minute, the 18-year-old swooped in on a poorly played ball by Bolivia goalkeeper Carlos Lampe, took it out of the air, turned and stuffed home his first international goal. Aged 18 years, 102 days, the strike make Sargent the second-young MNT player to score in his debut.
“There’s a great generation coming through,” Sargent said after the game. “I think the fans have a lot to look forward to. It’s all gone by so fast. It’s really cool to be able to score at each level, and now proving that I can score at the professional level as well.”
One year after the U-20 MNT reached the quarterfinals at the U-20 World Cup in Korea Republic, a quintet of that team’s young talent has reached the senior MNT, the highest number yet in a single camp from last summer’s tournament roster. The U-20 alumni have begun to make an impact as part of the young MNT’s next generation.
“It's really nice to be here together now and look back on the Under-20 cycle. We've come pretty far,” said midfielder Tyler Adams. “When I got my first call-up, it was an exciting time period because there were a lot of young faces. It’s refreshing to see a lot of young talent that we have graduated and come through the Youth National Teams. For these guys now, you're going to see their faces a lot."
The five players now in camp from last year’s U-20 World Cup-- Adams, Carter-Vickers, Luca de la Torre, Erik Palmer-Brown and Sargent—all climbed up the Youth National Team ladder. All but Carter-Vickers spent time at the U-17 level before they made a jump to the next World Cup age group, while the England-based defender logged minutes with the U-18s. Sargent pulled double duty with the 17s and 20s last year as a key player in each team’s World Cup run. He made one appearance with the U-20 squad earlier this year before his current MNT call-up.
Carter-Vickers and Palmer-Brown got a head start on their YNT development when they made the 2015 U-20 World Cup roster as underage players. In New Zealand, Carter-Vickers established a partnership with fellow center back Matt Miazga, one which has already taken the field three times for the senior team since last November in Portugal.
“Having been part of a World Cup, going into the second one you kind of know what to expect.” Carter-Vickers said. “You can pass some bits and bobs to your teammates and just try to help the team do well. In both 2015 and 2017, everyone got on really well on and off the pitch. There was good team chemistry. I think we performed at both of them.”
That 2015 World Cup in New Zealand has provided a similar pipeline of talent for the current MNT. Several players from that squad have advanced to the full team since November, and have already begun to make an impression at the senior level. In the current camp, Miazga, Zack Steffen and Rubio Rubin have all made multiple MNT appearances, while Shaq Moore earned his debut on Saturday against Ireland.
Midfielders Kellyn Acosta and Paul Arriola played big roles for the MNT in the past year, while Marky Delgado and Emerson Hyndman have also picked up their first caps, meaning that a staggering half of the 2015 roster has enjoyed senior team debuts.
Erik Palmer-Brown played only 90 minutes in New Zealand, but the experiences he gleaned as a part of the World Cup roster proved invaluable. He entered the new U-20 cycle as the team’s captain, and last spring led the USA to its first-ever Concacaf U-20 Championship.
That run forged the team together, and while six new players joined the U-20 ranks for Korea Republic, Sargent stood as the biggest curveball. The O’Fallon, Mo., product had appeared in just one U-20 MNT camp before the forward was thrust into the mix. As the captain, Lee’s Summit native Palmer-Brown dealt with task to integrate him into the team. Their shared Missouri roots provided plenty of ammo for banter
“As a team, we were open. I think we trust in the coaches and the system that they're going to choose the best players to be at the camp,” Palmer-Brown said. “For us, I think it was very seamless for Josh to come to the group. He’s from Missouri so I had to pick on him quite a bit. When he came in the group we had a lot of fun. I think in general he did well and he only helped our team.”
Performance served as the prime proving ground. Sargent’s showing in the opener turned heads, and his tear continued the rest of the team’s time in Korea. He followed up his standout debut with the game-winner in a 1-0 win against Senegal and another in a 6-0 rout of New Zealand. His four goals earned him Silver Boot honors at the tournament and an eventual professional contract with Bundesliga side Werder Bremen.
After another strong performance at last October’s FIFA U-17 World Cup in India, Sargent earned his first call-up to the senior team in Portugal a month later. U-20 teammates Tyler Adams and Cameron Carter-Vickers joined him. At the MNT’s annual January camp, U-20 MNT Real Salt Lake products Danny Acosta, Justen Glad and Brooks Lennon earned their first senior invites. Palmer-Brown made his MNT camp debut in March and his first appearance on May 28 against Bolivia.
The recent U-20 graduates sit near the center of the MNT’s refreshed roster. The squad’s average age came in just over 23 years, while 10 players stood age-eligible for last year’s competition. While they have represented the USA at the world’s highest level of youth competition, the senior level stage presents a new challenge.
Like the World Cup, moments like Sargent’s goal in Philadelphia will help to establish their place with the senior team, while defeats like the last-minute loss to Ireland will provide educational lumps to take. As they begin to forge the MNT’s future, the core of familiar faces has facilitated their jumps to the full international ranks.
“It's a lot more fun to grow up with all the guys that you started with and see how they've progressed over time and developed and able to make the next step together,” Adams said. “It's fairly easy to come into camp when you know you're going to have guys that you're really close with in camp with you. It makes it very seamless.
“You take those youth World Cup experiences and you’re ready to make the next step. When you recognize how important it is that you've really made it to the senior national team, it really keeps you hungry. You want more if you want to keep getting called in, you want to establish yourself and continue to represent the country.”Read more
The volume continued to rise Saturday at Aviva Stadium as the clock ticked towards full time. Graham Burke’s 57th minute equalizer had whipped the home crowd into a frenzy. With every ball won in the air by the Irish and each attack through the midfield, the decibel level climbed. As the match entered its final minutes, an experienced Ireland squad relentlessly pushed for a late winner.
The U.S. Men’s National Team worked hard and kept the game even during the first 89 minutes in Dublin, but as the fourth official prepared for stoppage time, the Irish attacking surge finally broke through. Buoyed by the crowd, a quick buildup found James McClean inside the box, and after he took a dangerous turn towards the net, Alan Judge hammered it home.
A valiant effort by an MNT side whose average age was just north of 23 years came up just short. As the young roster forges the future for the USA, Saturday night’s defeat at the death served as a valuable lump to take.
“It was a great game for our young guys to learn from,” head coach Dave Sarachan said after the match. “For our young guys tonight, this is what these games are all about - knowing how to manage a game like this on away soil, a tough place to play. Mistakes will punish you against good teams. You’ve got to stay tuned in for 90 minutes. The concentration level has to be there.”
USA-Ireland Average Age Comparison
Players Who Appeared
28 years, 117 days
27 years, 354 days
23 years, 73 days
23 years, 7 days
The MNT’s current European tour was designed to test a youthful player pool against strong overseas opponents in pressure-filled environments. Saturday provided the team’s most-difficult match since its November trip to reigning European champions Portugal, where they secured a 1-1 draw. The last-minute loss in Dublin provided many teaching moments.
“We realized that it’s 90 minutes,” captain Wil Trapp said. “At this level,
you don’t defend well, you don’t bring that competition, you get punished.
It’s all about continuing to compete, and I thought we lost that,
especially in the last 10, 15 minutes, but that’s international football.”
In defeat, the MNT showed flashes of flow and peeks of its potential. Bobby Wood’s 45th minute goal to open the scoring came off a well-executed set piece, but after the half Ireland found the equalizer through a defensive breakdown. The back-and-forth battle produced positives, but also an array of areas on which to improve.
Now one of the MNT’s most seasoned veterans, Wood previously played on another young MNT roster after the 2014 FIFA World Cup. That team suffered a run of devastating last-minute goals. In five of its six games after the tournament, the USA gave up a goal in the 86th minute or later. The stretch included game-winning goals in the 87th minute and second-half stoppage time in matches against Colombia and Denmark, respectively. For Wood, to play a complete game is a lesson that needs to be learned through experience.
“It’s a learning process,” Wood said. “We’re playing against a very experienced Irish team and we’ve just got to learn and stay concentrated for 90 minutes. It’s fun playing with these guys. The only thing that was missing was the result. It’s tough at this level; you need to get used to that, play at that level and stay with it 90 minutes.”
This MNT roster carries an average age of 23 years, 102 days, and while the starting XI took the field at just 23 years, 73 days, Ireland checked in at five years older. Sixteen of the 25 players on the trip in Europe have five caps or less, while three made their first appearance for the USA at Aviva Stadium: Luca de la Torre, Shaq Moore and Tim Parker.
First caps have been frequent for the U.S. under Sarachan. Since November, 18 players have earned their MNT debuts. The head coach has also given 24 players their first MNT invites as he looks to expand the player pool. In just five games at the helm, Sarachan has already deployed 45 different players. Showing a nod to the future, only 11 of them appeared during the Final Round of 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying.
“It’s a moment I’ve waited for a long time. It’s the highest honor,” said Parker, who was up to speed from the moment he replaced Cameron Carter-Vickers in the 61st minute. “I just wanted to do whatever I could to make the team better. It’s tough to play away. We just have to find ways to make it our game, play on our terms. We’re a young team that’s just getting to know each other. We had chances to put the game away; unfortunately, it didn’t fall into our hands.”
After Saturday, every player on the MNT roster has made at least one appearance. While the team will have plenty to review from the last-minute loss, it also has an opportunity to apply some of those lessons as a final test awaits in France against Les Bleus. Lyon’s Groupama Stadium will serve as another raucous host venue against a supremely talented squad that will be one of the favorites heading to the FIFA World Cup in Russia. No matter the result, the game will grant another invaluable learning experience.
“At the end of the day, we made a couple mistakes that led to their goals,” Sarachan said. “That’s hopefully the learning process for these young guys, closing out a game and making sure the little things don’t punish you. They did tonight.
“When I went in the locker room, they were a little bit gutted they didn’t get a result. There’s a lot to say about the French team, but our guys will be excited and ready for the match.”Read more