DOHA, Qatar — Tyler Adams has been named captain of the United States for Monday’s opener against Wales.
Adams, who has captained the U.S. nine times in 32 career games, has dressed in seven of the 12 World Cup qualifiers on Friday.
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“It’s an honor for me to be named captain of this team,” Adams said. “A very young team, but a lot of credit goes to my teammates because anyone in our leadership council can wear that armband and represent us with pride and represent us the right way.”
Under coach Greg Berhelter, responsibility has been rotated among several players in the team’s leadership council, with Christian Pulisic, Walker Zimmerman and Weston McKenney all holding roles since World Cup qualifying began.
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“It’s something we’ve been working with the board of directors for the last three and a half years and we’re very open and we ask them, ‘Hey, what do you guys want to do for the World Cup?’
“We are proud to announce that Tyler is captain for the World Cup. We think he has great leadership skills and will lead by his actions and words.”
Adams, 23, is the youngest United States captain at a World Cup since Harry Q (22 years, 7 months, 17 days) in 1950, and Berhelter’s team will be the second youngest team in the tournament behind Ghana.
“Tyler is mature beyond his years and you notice that from the minute you start talking to him,” Berhelter said. “I could go on and on about Tyler’s strengths, but the other thing about him is his humility and I think he’s someone who knows exactly what his teammates are getting out of him.
“You know he goes out there and competes. You know he cares about the game. You know he’s on the roster. He’s not only a competitor, he’s a strategist and I think he helps the team because he calms people down and he’s a guy that people get behind.
The Leeds United midfielder previously played for the USA at the U17 World Cup in 2017 and made the full national team against Portugal later that year.
A day after midfielder Weston McKenney and right-back Sergino Dest said they were healthy and ready to play, Berhelter wasn’t ready to say either would be fit for 90 minutes.
“They’ve made great progress,” Berhalter said. “We’ll see if they can participate in the game. For how long? We’ll have to see.”
“That’s part of having five substitutes who can come in or start and take them out when we feel they’re getting to that point, but they’re both definitely ready to help this team tomorrow.”
Brendan Aaronson, Leeds’ Horizon team-mate, is the frontrunner to play in central midfield if McKenney is limited, but it is unclear who will replace Destin at right-back with DeAndre Yedlin, Joe Scull and Shaq Moore.
FIFA announced on Sunday that the US-Wales game will be officiated by the Qatari officials led by Abdurrahman Al Jassim.
At the 2019 Gold Cup, Al Jassim refereed 3 games, including the Americans’ 1-0 win over Panama. Adams, Josh Sargentina and Luca de la Torre led the U.S. to a 6-0 win over New Zealand in the round of 16 at the 2017 U-20 World Cup.