Schalke team members with from left: Amine Harit, Schalke's Sead Kolasinac, goal scorer Matthew Hoppe, coaching staff Naldo, and Mark Uth celebrate their second goal goal against Hoffenheim, during their German Bundesliga FC Schalke 04 - 1899 Hoffenheim soccer match at Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, Saturday Jan. 9, 2021. (Guido Kirchner/dpa via AP)

US Soccer players hope to set positive example after riot

US Soccer players hope to set positive example after riot

A day after last week’s deadly riot in the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, players from the U.S. soccer team gathered in Bradenton, Florida, and considered what they could do to set a positive example for a shaken country.

“I think obviously we all realize how horrific those events were, and we all understand that there’s a need for a change in this country in a lot of ways,” forward Jordan Morris, one of the veteran players in camp, said during a news conference Monday. “The big thing for us, and I’ve talked to guys about a little bit, is hopefully as a national team, is to be a positive representation of what that change can be and how we get to move forward. And I think it’s also in these hard times we hope to be as a team — hopefully in a positive light.”

Coach Gregg Berhalter said he has not yet spoken to players about the events in Washington.

“This is a low point for us. There’s a lot of room to improve as a country, and it’s something where we can all be better examples. We could all be better citizens,” Berhalter said. “We’re watching that. It doesn’t jibe at all with what we know America to be. It’s not who we are as a country. And it’s disappointing to see.”

The young U.S. player pool is preparing for a possible exhibition on Jan. 31 against Serbia, although that match has not been finalized.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the start of World Cup qualifying has been delayed by a year until September 2021, when the Americans are likely to open at Trinidad and Tobago, where an October 2017 loss ended their streak of seven straight World Cup appearances.

A full player pool is likely to be available for a pair of March exhibitions, probably in Europe, and for the CONCACAF Nations League semifinal against Honduras in June, followed by the final or third-place match, against Mexico or Costa Rica. That is followed by the CONCACAF Gold Cup starting July 2, likely with a younger roster.

Berhalter watched two notable performances this month by from Americans in Europe.

Matthew Hoppe, a 19-year-old forward who has not played at any national team level, became the first American to score a hat trick in Germany’s Bundesliga. Hoppe got three goals in his fifth league match, helping Schalke beat Hoffenheim 4-0 Saturday for its first league win in nearly a year.

Born in Yorba Linda, California, Hoppe played in a Barcelona-affiliated development academy in Arizona. Hoppe was in plans for the under-20 team last year before the pandemic.

“What I really liked is the transition moments, the moments when he won the ball,” Berhalter said. “The space behind the defence, he was able to take advantage, that really clever movement. And then when he got in position to score goals, he finished them off with cleverness.”

Zack Steffen, a 25-year-old who has become the top goalkeeper on the national team, made his Premier League debut in Manchester City’s 3-1 win over Chelsea and American midfielder Christian Pulisic on Jan. 3.

Steffen has 19 international appearances. He spent last season on loan with Fortuna Düsseldorf and had been limited previously this season to four League Cup matches and one in the Champions League.

“I’m very proud of him and how he’s adapting and how he’s fit into what they do. He looked really confident on the ball and overall made the saves he had to make,” Berhalter said. “He really did take the next step in terms of maturity, composure. The Bundesliga helped him develop. And now he’s in a place where he’s even taking another step and you can see that with his play, very calm, very collected, and he still is still a young goalkeeper.”

Morris, 26, has spent five seasons with the Seattle Sounders and has 10 goals in 39 international appearances. He is recovered from a torn right ACL that caused him to miss most of 2018 and hopes for a transfer to Europe, though it is not clear whether a move will take place.

“There’s definitely some conversations ongoing with Seattle. If the right offer and the right team comes to it, it definitely would be something that I’d be interested in,” he said. “If things don’t work out and I end up in Seattle, I love being there.”

NOTES: New York Red Bulls D Kyle Duncan was added to the under-23 team training camp roster. He replaces an unidentified player who tested positive during arrival in camp and has been quarantined. Duncan made his senior national team debut last month against El Salvador.


More AP soccer: and

Ronald Blum, The Associated Press


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney updates media in Edmonton on measures taken to help with COVID-19 on Friday, March 20, 2020. Political analysts say Kenney must rethink his traditional “fight back” approach and start building bridges to reconcile environmental concerns with oil and gas development. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Political scientists say Kenney must rethink pugilistic approach on oil, environment

Keystone XL pipeline expansion would have taken more oil from Alberta through the United States to refineries and ports

An incomplete secondary wall stands alongside the previous version near where the border separating Tijuana, Mexico, and San Diego meets the Pacific Ocean Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in Tijuana, Mexico. In the days before Joe Biden became president, construction crews worked quickly to finish Donald Trump’s wall at an iconic cross-border park overlooking the Pacific Ocean that then-first lady Pat Nixon inaugurated in 1971 as symbol of international friendship. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Biden halts border wall building after Trump’s final surge

Pause order leaves billions of dollars of work unfinished but still under contract

Crimson Villas, a new lodge and apartment complex expected to be complete this spring, is named after Red Deer’s official flower. (Contributed photo)
New lodge, apartment complex named after Red Deer’s official flower

A new lodge and apartment building in Red Deer will be named… Continue reading

Former Alberta Premier Rachel Notley shakes hands with Joel Ward, former Red Deer College President and CEO, as Notley announces that the college is on the path to grant degrees. Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan says university status is not a necessary condition for offering degrees. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Future of Red Deer University increasingly uncertain

MLA’s college update says RDC more like SAIT and NAIT than a university

There are two confirmed COVID-19 cases at Red Deer College. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff
Central Albertans were promised a university

Central Albertans were promised a university

Jacqueline Donahue of Hazleton, right, buys la Mega Millions lottery ticket at the Anthracite Newsstand on Public Square, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (Mark Moran/The Citizens’ Voice via AP)
Nearly $1B Mega Millions prize due to long odds, slow sales

Only the third time a lottery jackpot has grown so large

David Shoemaker, chief executive officer of the Canadian Olympic Committee, speaks during the Olympic Partnership kick off event at the Sobey’s office in Mississauga, Ont. on Monday, October 7, 2019. Shoemaker says the IOC remains committed to staging the Summer Games in Tokyo this summer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
Canadian Olympic boss says IOC plans to go ahead with Tokyo Games this summer

IOC calls cancellation decision “categorically untrue”

FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2011 file photo, Dustin Diamond attends the SYFY premiere of “Mega Python vs. Gatoroid” at The Ziegfeld Theater in New York. Diamond is undergoing chemotherapy treatments after being diagnosed with cancer, according to his representative. Diamond, best known for playing Screech on the hit ’90s sitcom, was hospitalized earlier this month in Florida. Last week, his team disclosed he did have cancer. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer, File)
Dustin Diamond undergoing chemotherapy treatments for cancer

Diamond hospitalized earlier this month in Florida

Winnipeg Jets' Mark Scheifele, left, and Kyle Connor, right, congratulate Blake Wheeler on his goal during second period NHL action against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday, January 21, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Four different Jets score as Winnipeg beats the Ottawa Senators 4-1

Four different Jets score as Winnipeg beats the Ottawa Senators 4-1

Most Read