After four long years of waiting, the World Cup is finally here! The group stage begins on Nov. 20, and the first U.S. match will be on Nov. 21 against Wales. The United States men’s national team (USMNT) is in Group B, along with England, Iran and Wales. They will be battling on the pitch to advance into the knockout stage by securing one of the top two spots in their group.
USMNT is the youngest team to qualify for the Cup, so some argue that they are too inexperienced of a team. However, with the majority of the players on the roster regularly playing for teams in the world’s top five leagues, fans are excited to see what the team can accomplish on an international level. For local soccer fans, there are a few players on the roster who hail from Washington.
Seattle Sounders fans will be able to see a familiar face on the pitch in forward Jordan Morris. Morris grew up on Mercer Island and played for Stanford during his college years. In more recent times, Morris earned the MLS Comeback Player of the Year Award in 2019 after being injured in the previous season and the Sounders FC’s MVP of the year in 2020. In 2021, he was on loan to Swansea City, which ended early for him due to a knee injury. The Washington native has a decent amount of international experience, being on the USMNT since 2014. He has 49 appearances in this time and has scored a total of 11 goals and eight assists.
Midfielder Cristian Roldan is a University of Washington alumnus and another Sounders player that fans will be seeing on the USMNT. Coming from Pico Rivera, Calif., Roldan has established himself as a key player in both the Sounders lineup and the USMNT. He has been a member of the USMNT at the last three CONCACAF Gold Cups, where they won in both 2017 and 2021. Since 2017 when he debuted on the USMNT, he has had a total of 32 appearances and logged two assists.
The only World Cup veteran on the USMNT this year is defender DeAndre Yedlin who was raised in Seattle and played for Crossfire Premier, a local soccer academy, growing up. He started out his professional career playing for the Sounders until 2015, when he joined clubs in the European leagues. In 2022, he joined Inter Miami CF. The Seattle native was part of the squad that won the 2019-20 CONCACAF Nations League, and since debuting in 2014, he has made 75 appearances with eight assists for the US.
To have three outstanding players with roots in Seattle on the USMNT is something we Washingtonians should be immensely proud of. Support the USMNT in the group stage on Nov. 21 against Wales, Nov. 25 against England and Nov. 29 against Iran.