Preview: USMNT Ready To Kick Off 2022 FIFA World Cup Against WalesUSA Set for First World Cup Match Since 2014 As Group B Gets Underway in Qatar; Kickoff From Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan Set for 2 p.m. ET on Fox and Telemundo
CHICAGO (Nov. 19, 2022) – The U.S. Men’s National Team will kick off the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar on Monday, Nov. 21 against Wales. Returning to the world stage for the first time in eight years, the USA was drawn alongside Wales, England and IR Iran in Group B.
Kickoff for USA-Wales from Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar is set for 2 p.m. ET on Fox and Telemundo.
Twenty-five of 26 USMNT players have the opportunity to make their World Cup debuts. The remarkably youthful U.S. roster is the second youngest in Qatar, but is packed with potential -- 14 of 26 players compete in the world’s top five leagues.
Contesting its first World Cup since 1958, Wales is in the midst of perhaps its greatest era of international success after qualifying for its first two UEFA European Championships in 2016 and 2020, finishing third at the 2016 tournament.
U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM - 2022 FIFA WORLD CUP ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB/COUNTRY; CAPS/GOALS; HOMETOWN)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ethan Horvath (Luton Town/ENG; 8/0; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 10/0; Lilburn, Ga.), Matt Turner (Arsenal/ENG; 20/0; Park Ridge, N.J.)
DEFENDERS (9): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic/SCO; 11/0; Southend-on-Sea, England), Sergiño Dest (AC Milan/ITA; 19/2; Almere, Netherlands), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 29/3; Oak Hills, Calif.), Shaq Moore (Nashville SC; 15/1; Powder Springs, Ga.), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 46/1; St. Louis, Mo.), Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG; 29/2; Liverpool, England), Joe Scally (Borussia Mönchengladbach/GER; 3/0; Lake Grove, N.Y.), DeAndre Yedlin (Inter Miami CF; 75/0; Seattle, Wash.), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; 33/3; Lawrenceville, Ga.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Brenden Aaronson (Leeds United/ENG; 24/6; Medford, N.J.), Kellyn Acosta (LAFC; 53/2; Plano, Texas), Tyler Adams (Leeds United/ENG; 32/1; Wappingers Falls, N.Y.), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo/ESP; 12/0; San Diego, Calif.), Weston McKennie (Juventus/ITA; 37/9; Little Elm, Texas), Yunus Musah (Valencia/ESP; 19/0; London, England), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 32/0; Pico Rivera, Calif.)
FORWARDS (7): Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas; 15/7; McKinney, Texas), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders; 49/11; Mercer Island, Wash.), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 52/21; Hershey, Pa.), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 14/4; Bedford, N.Y.), Josh Sargent (Norwich City/ENG; 20/5; O’Fallon, Mo.), Tim Weah (Lille/FRA; 25/3; Rosedale, N.Y.), Haji Wright (Antalyaspor/TUR; 3/1; Los Angeles, Calif.)
USA SCHEDULE - 2022 FIFA WORLD CUP
RETURN TO THE WORLD STAGE
Playing in its 11th FIFA World Cup and eighth of the last nine, the USMNT will go up against the tournament’s strongest overall group in Qatar. Drawn into Group B alongside Wales, England and IR Iran, the four nations hold an average rank of 15.
The 2022 World Cup, the first to be held in the Middle East, features 32 nations divided into eight groups of four teams and will be the last tournament played with the 32-team format. After group play from Nov. 21-29, the top two finishers in each group will advance to the knockout stage of the competition from Dec. 3-18. All 64 matches of the tournament will be played in eight state-of-the-art stadiums in Qatar, with all venues within an hour drive of the capital of Doha.
YOUNG AMERICANSThe USMNT was by far the youngest team to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, garnering valuable experience going through the rigors of World Cup qualifying. Through 14 qualifiers, the USA Starting XI came in at an average of 23.82, almost two years younger than the next closest team, Ghana at 25.67. Together, the other 31 participating teams averaged a Starting XI age of 27.5 through qualifying, nearly four full years older than the U.S.
From the available data for qualified teams, the USMNT played 10 of the 11 youngest lineups worldwide during the recently concluded qualifying cycle, with all 14 lineups falling in the 23 youngest Starting XIs in the world dating back to October 2020. After its successful qualifying campaign, each match is another opportunity for the young USMNT player pool to gain experience against top-flight competition.
The 2022 team ties the 1990 USA side for most U-23 players on a USMNT World Cup roster with nine: Tyler Adams (23); Brenden Aaronson, Sergiño Dest, Josh Sargent and Tim Weah (22); Jesús Ferreira (21); Yunus Musah, Gio Reyna and Joe Scally (19).
With the inclusion of Musah, Reyna and Scally, this is the first USMNT World Cup squad with more than one teenager on the roster, though Gio Reyna turned 20 on Nov. 12 and Yunus Musah will do so on Nov. 29, the day of the USA’s final group stage match against Iran.
HIGHEST LEVEL FOR CLUB & COUNTRY
While 25 players will seek to make their World Cup debuts in Qatar, the USMNT roster is no stranger to some of soccer’s biggest stages at the club level. Five of 26 players are participating in this year’s UEFA Champions League, the sport’s premier club competition, while 14 play for teams in the world’s top five leagues (England, Germany, Spain, Italy and France).
This USMNT World Cup roster boasts perhaps the most impressive list of club homes ever at the tournament, with players at some of Europe’s most storied clubs. Forward Christian Pulisic helped Chelsea win the UEFA Champions League in 2020-21, becoming the first American to play in the UCL Final. Defender Sergiño Dest moved this season to reigning Italian champion AC Milan, while goalkeeper Matt Turner is plying his trade for English Premier League leader Arsenal. Midfielder Weston McKennie’s club Juventus won the Italian league championship nine times in a row from 2011-12 through 2019-20.
The USMNT’s World Cup squad reflects the success of the U.S. Soccer player development pathway, as many of the players came up through the U.S. Youth National Teams program and spent time in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy and/or the U.S. Soccer U-17 Residency Program.
Fourteen players – just over half the roster - have represented the USA in at least one FIFA Youth World Cup. Four took the field together at two separate tournaments: Tyler Adams, Luca de la Torre Christian Pulisic and Haji Wright at the 2015 U-17 World Cup in Chile, and Adams, Cameron Carter-Vickers, de la Torre and Josh Sargent at the 2017 U-20 World Cup in Korea Republic.
Seventeen of 26 played in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, run by the Federation as the nation’s highest level of youth soccer from 2007-2020 to maximize youth player development by positively impacting everyday club environments. Seven players participated in the Residency Program, an elite training environment for the country’s best youth players at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. From 1999-2017.
Despite the youth of the USMNT player pool, the U.S. squad earned their stripes during Concacaf’s rigorous 14-game World Cup qualification campaign, the Octagonal. A record-tying 29 players made their first WCQ appearance this cycle in the challenging conditions of Concacaf.
Since qualifying for the World Cup in March, the USMNT has used its four open friendly match dates to challenge itself against fellow tournament participants, lining up opponents from Asia, Africa and South America. The USA topped Morocco 3-0 and battled South American power Uruguay to a scoreless draw in June, before falling 2-0 to Japan and tying Saudi Arabia 0-0 during the team’s final prep matches in September.
BY THE NUMBERSWith the USA’s World Cup roster officially submitted, a new class will join the illustrious ranks of players to represent the United States on the sport’s biggest stage. With the assignment of jersey numbers, the current USMNT joins the legacy of players to take the field for their country at the USA’s previous 10 World Cup appearances. Goalkeeper Matt Turner joins a proud lineage of U.S. goalkeepers to wear No. 1 from the state of New Jersey, following Tony Meola, Brad Friedel and Tim Howard. Forward Christian Pulisic will wear the hallowed No. 10 shirt like playmakers Tab Ramos, Claudio Reyna and Landon Donovan before him.
BE THE CHANGEFollowing the death of George Floyd in May 2020 and continuing growth of the important Black Lives Matter movement, the members of the U.S. Men’s National Team were inspired to develop their own mission statement to send and spread a meaningful message. From a diverse and united group, a call to action emerged: Be the Change.
The spirit of our message is that each and every person has the ability, opportunity and responsibility to make a difference in their own way. The motto has been brought to life in a number of different ways. Last June, the USMNT advocated for stricter gun control with armbands and an imploring letter to Congress to pass legislation.
Now, with the eyes of the world on the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the USMNT and U.S. Soccer will continue to elevate and advance the Be the Change message, inviting everyone on the journey to make a positive and lasting impact.
As the USMNT prepares to kick off the World Cup in Qatar, the team has welcomed some special guests to its “home away from home” - Al Gharafa Stadium, serving as the U.S. training facility for the month. On Tuesday night, eight players and two coaches hosted 20 migrant workers who helped build the infrastructure behind the World Cup for some fun on the field, playing small-sided games and taking part in a penalty kick shootout alongside the USMNT. Afterwards, the U.S. contingent signed autographs and took photos with workers to thank them for their efforts to make the tournament happen.
To show their appreciation for all those serving the United States in Qatar, head coach Gregg Berhalter and the USMNT invited servicemen and women, embassy staff and their families to attend practice on Wednesday. Nearly 1,000 U.S. citizens from Camp As Saliyah, Al Udeid Airbase and the U.S. Embassy in Doha came to Al Gharafa Stadium for exclusive access to the session and post-training autographs and photos.
The son of a U.S. serviceman, Weston McKennie addressed the crowd before practice. Sixteen years ago, McKennie met USMNT legends Carlos Bocanegra and Landon Donovan when the team visited Ramstein Air Base in Germany ahead of the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Now, the Texan will compete on the global stage himself.
USA ROSTER NOTES
- As of the opening match against Wales on Nov. 21, the 26-player roster will hold an average age of 25 years, 175 days, making it the second-youngest USMNT roster at a World Cup after the 1990 squad (24 years, 24 days).
- The 2022 team also ties the 1990 side for most U-23 players on a USMNT World Cup roster with nine: Tyler Adams (23); Brenden Aaronson, Sergiño Dest, Josh Sargent and Tim Weah (22); Jesús Ferreira (21); Yunus Musah, Gio Reyna and Joe Scally (19).
- With the inclusion of Musah, Reyna and Scally, this is the first USMNT World Cup squad with more than one teenager on the roster, though Gio Reyna turned 20 on Nov. 12 and Yunus Musah will do so on Nov. 29, the day of the USA’s final group stage match against Iran.
- Only three USMNT World Cup players have been younger than the teenage trio for the first game of their respective tournament: Joe Martinelli (17.76; 1934), Julian Green (19.03; 2014), Chris Henderson (19.5; 1990), Joe Scally (19.89; 2022), Yunus Musah (19.98; 2022), Gio Reyna (20.02; 2022).
- Head coach Gregg Berhalter will become the first individual to play for and coach the USMNT at a FIFA World Cup.
- With 75 caps, DeAndre Yedlin is the senior-most player and the only one with previous World Cup experience after featuring in three matches during the 2014 tournament in Brazil.
- Following Yedlin in terms of seniority are Kellyn Acosta (53 caps), Christian Pulisic (52), Jordan Morris (49), Tim Ream (46), Weston McKennie (37), Walker Zimmerman (33), Tyler Adams (32) and Cristian Roldan (32).
- At 35 years old, Tim Ream is the eighth oldest player named to a USMNT World Cup roster, and fifth oldest field player. The current captain of English Premier League side Fulham FC ranks behind Frank Moniz (38.75; 1950), Marcus Hahnemann (37.99; 2010), Fernando Clavijo (37.4; 1994), Thomas Dooley (37.1; 1998), Tom Florie (36.72; 1934), Kasey Keller (36.54; 2006), Tim Howard (35.28; 2014), Tim Ream (35.13; 2022).
- Players represent clubs in eight different countries: USA (9), England (8), Germany (2), Italy (2), Spain (2), France (1), Scotland (1), Turkey (1).
- Players have hometowns in nine different states: California (4), New York (4), Georgia (3) Texas (3), Missouri (2), New Jersey (2), Washington (2), Colorado (1), Pennsylvania (1).
- Four other players have hometowns in two foreign countries: England (3) and Netherlands (1).
- A total of 21 players made at least one appearance for the USA during 2022 World Cup Qualifying. The group accounted for 9,683 minutes (70 percent of total minutes) and 16 of the 21 goals scored (76 percent).
- The five who did not appear in qualifying are goalkeepers Ethan Horvath and Sean Johnson, defenders Cameron Carter-Vickers and Joe Scally, and forward Haji Wright.
- Four clubs have two players on the USMNT World Cup roster: Brenden Aaronson and Tyler Adams (Leeds United); Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson (Fulham); Shaq Moore and Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC); Jordan Morris and Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders)
- Having made his international debut at the start of 2021, Matt Turner has 14 clean sheets through his first 20 caps, leading all USMNT goalkeepers in shutouts through their first 20 appearances.
- Should Turner appear in a World Cup match, he would become the fourth goalkeeper from the state of New Jersey to play for the USMNT at the tournament, following Jimmy Douglas (East Newark; 1930), Tony Meola (Kearny; 1990 and 1994) and Tim Howard (North Brunswick; 2010, 2014).
- Defender Sergiño Dest (AC Milan) and midfielder Weston McKennie (Juventus) are the second and third USMNT players from Serie A clubs to make a World Cup roster, following Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan) in 2010.
- Dest will be the second Dutch-American to represent the USMNT at a FIFA World Cup, following current U.S. Soccer Sporting Director Earnie Stewart who took part in the 1994, 1998 and 2002 World Cups.
- Having recently captained Celtic in the UEFA Champions League, center back Cameron Carter-Vickers becomes the first player from a Scottish club named to a U.S. World Cup roster.
- Center back Walker Zimmerman (Lawrenceville), goalkeeper Sean Johnson (Lilburn) and right back Shaq Moore (Powder Springs) all hail from the state of Georgia, with Zimmerman and Johnson both having attended Brookwood High School in the Atlanta suburb of Snellville.
- Goalkeeper Ethan Horvath becomes the first player from the state of Colorado named to a USMNT World Cup roster.
- Midfielders Luca de la Torre (Celta de Vigo) and Yunus Musah (Valencia) are the first players from the Spanish Primera to make a U.S. World Cup roster. Previously, Tab Ramos made the 1994 squad after playing for Real Betis in the Spanish Segunda.
- Defender Joe Scally and Haji Wright both made their USMNT debuts earlier this year in the 3-0 friendly win against Morocco on June 1 in Cincinnati. Wright’s penalty kick in that match made him the 56th player to score in their USMNT debut.
- Wright (Antalyaspor) also becomes just the second player from a Turkish club to make a USMNT World Cup roster after Jermaine Jones, who was on loan with Besiktas at the time of the 2014 tournament in Brazil.
- Fourteen players represented the USA in at least one FIFA Youth World Cup: Kellyn Acosta (2011 U-17; 2013, 2015 U-20), Tyler Adams (2015 U-17, 2017 U-20), Cameron Carter-Vickers (2015, 2017 U-20), Luca de la Torre (2015 U-17, 2017 U-20), Sergiño Dest (2017 U-17, 2019 U-20), Sean Johnson (2009 U-20), Shaq Moore (2015 U-20), Christian Pulisic (2015 U-17), Gio Reyna (2019 U-17), Josh Sargent (2017 U-17, U-20), Joe Scally (2019 U-17) Tim Weah (2017 U-17, 2019 U-20), Haji Wright (2015 U-17), DeAndre Yedlin (2013 U-20).
- Monday marks the third meeting all-time between the USA and Wales. It’s the first meeting at the FIFA World Cup.
- The USA and Wales last clashed on Nov. 12, 2020 in Swansea, Wales, a 0-0 draw in the USA’s first match after the pause in international soccer due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Seventeen-year-old Yunus Musah and Gio Reyna made their USMNT debuts that day against the Dragons.
- Musah and Reyna were the 12th and 13th U.S. players to earn caps under the age of 18. It was the first time that two players under 18 have started for the USMNT in the same match.
- USMNT midfielder Kellyn Acosta and Gareth Bale recently lifted the MLS Cup together at LAFC
- USMNT defenders Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson play alongside Welsh midfielder Harry Wilson and forward Daniel James at English Premier League outfit Fulham.
- Ethan Horvath and Wales defender Tom Lockyer mind the defense at Luton Town in the Championship.
- The teams’ first meeting was a 2-0 friendly victory for the USMNT on May 26, 2003 at Spartan Stadium in San Jose, Calif.
- Nick Rimando earned a shutout in his first start for the USA, Landon Donovan and Eddie Lewis scored while forward Brian Ching made his international debut.
- The USMNT is 2-1-1 against European opposition under head coach Gregg Berhalter.
WALES ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB; CAPS/GOALS)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Wayne Hennnessey (Nottingham Forest/ENG; 106/0), Danny Ward (Leicester City/ENG; 26/0), Adam Davies (Sheffield United/ENG; 3/0)
DEFENDERS (9): Ben Davies (Tottenham Hotspur/ENG; 74/1), Ben Cabango (Swansea City; 5/0), Tom Lockyer (Luton Town/ENG; 14/0), Joe Rodon (Rennes/FRA; 30/0), Chris Mepham (Bournemouth/ENG; 33/0), Ethan Ampadu (Spezia/ITA; 37/0), Chris Gunter (AFC Wimbledon/ENG; 109/0), Neco Williams (Nottingham Forest/ENG; 23/2), Connor Roberts (Burnley/ENG; 41/3)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Sorba Thomas (Huddersfield Town/ENG; 6/0), Joe Allen (Swansea City; 72/2), Matt Smith (MK Dons/ENG; 19/0), Dylan Levitt (Dundee United/SCO; 13/0), Harry Wilson (Fulham/ENG; 39/5), Joe Morrell (Portsmouth/ENG; 30/0), Jonny Williams (Swindon Town/ENG; 33/2), Aaron Ramsey (Nice/FRA; 75/20) Rubin Colwell (Cardiff City; 7/1)
FORWARDS (5): Gareth Bale (Los Angeles FC/USA; 108/40), Kieffer Moore (Bournemouth/ENG; 28/9), Mark Harris (Cardiff City; 5/0), Brennan Johnson (Nottingham Forest/ENG; 15/2), Daniel James (Fulham/ENG; 38/5)
IN FOCUS: WALES
WORLD CUP HISTORY
- Qatar 2022 marks the second appearance for Wales at the World Cup after reaching the quarterfinals at Sweden 1958.
- Following three draws in the group stage, Wales defeated Hungary 2-1 to reach the knockout stage. There, the Dragons fell 1-0 to Brazil, featuring a 17-year-old Pele making his tournament debut who scored the goal to send Wales home.
- Currently ranked No. 19 in the FIFA World Ranking, Wales is in the midst of perhaps the most successful period in its history, qualifying for the World Cup after reaching the semifinals of the 2016 UEFA European Championship and the Round of 16 at Euro 2020, its first two appearances at the competition.
HOW THEY GOT HERE
- Wales qualified for the World Cup as one of three UEFA playoff winners and is one of 13 European nations set to compete at Qatar 2022.
- The Dragons finished second in UEFA Group E for qualifying behind Belgium and ahead of Czech Republic, Estonia and Belarus. After dropping its opener at Belgium, Wales rattled off a seven-game undefeated streak to edge Czech Republic for runner-up in the group.
- The UEFA playoffs feature the 10 second-place group stage finishers plus two additional qualifiers based on UEFA Nations League performances. Wales was drawn against Austria, Scotland and Ukraine in playoff path A.
- Captain and all-time leading scorer Gareth Bale scored on either side of halftime in the semifinal against Austria in Cardiff to send Wales to a showdown with Ukraine for a World Cup berth.
- While the Wales-Austria match took place in March, the Scotland-Ukraine semifinal and playoff final were postponed to the June international window due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
- In the final, Bale once again played the hero, netting the lone goal against Ukraine to boost Wales to its first World Cup in 64 years.
- The vast majority of Wales’ roster, 21 of 26 players, compete in England and Wales for clubs that participate in English league competitions.
- Nine Welsh players are on the books at clubs in the English Premier League, with eight plying their trade in the second division English Championship.
- Bale is Wales’ all-time leading scorer with 40 goals in 108 international appearances. An all-time great for the Dragons, Bale recently lifted the MLS Cup at LAFC with USMNT midfielder Kellyn Acosta. The forward entered the final in extra time and headed home a late equalizer in the eighth minute of second half stoppage time to send the game to penalty kicks.
- Defender Chris Gunter is Wales’ most experienced player, edging Bale with 109 caps under his belt.
WALES HEAD COACH ROB PAGE
- Head coach Rob Page took charge of Wales as acting head coach from Ryan Giggs in November 2020. After leading the Dragons to their first World Cup berth in 64 years, he was awarded a four-year contract in September and has compiled a 10-9-9 record during his two years in charge.
- Page launched his career on the touchline with Port Vale and Northampton Town in the English third division before guiding the Wales Under-21 National Team from 2017-19. He was named an assistant for the senior squad in Aug. 2019.
- A former Welsh international, Page earned 41 caps for the Dragons from 1996-2005. He made 475 league appearances during an 18-year career in England, the majority with Watford and Sheffield United.