United States men’s national team midfielder Tyler Adams said he is looking forward to getting reacquainted with his USMNT teammates ahead of their upcoming friendlies.
The RB Leipzig player is part of Gregg Berhalter’s roster composed mainly of European-based players to arrive to the USMNT’s camp in Cardiff ahead of a match against Wales on Thursday in Swansea, followed four days later by another friendly against Panama in Austria.
“Having the opportunity to come into a national team camp is good, not only to see some familiar faces, but also step out of the groove of what was going on because I was with my club for such a long time in Germany, throughout all of [coronavirus pandemic] now,” Adams at Monday’s media availability. “So being able to be around some of my friends again and step back into the U.S. crest is a good feeling.”
Due to the pandemic, it’s been over nine months since the U.S. last played a match of any kind. For some players like Adams, it’s been 18 months since they last donned the U.S. colors.
“I would say everyone’s quite behind because we’ve had eight months off to a pandemic,” said Adams. “But other than that, it’s just about coming in and taking as much information as possible because with such limited training, you don’t have the opportunity to have repetition.”
The extent to which the time off has halted any progress that the U.S. team has made will be revealed over the next week.
Berhalter said he held his first session on Monday, even though only 11 players were available. Tuesday’s session should see the entire 24-player roster participate, even as the continuing pandemic has forced the U.S. contingent to take precautions in terms of social distancing and wearing of masks.
“We’ll be having a welcome meeting [Tuesday] and we’ve been together for two-and-a-half days, so that’s the odd part of COVID that we’re all dealing with,” Berhalter said.
Adams acknowledged that the past 11 months have had a stop-and-go feel for his club, with an unexpected break from March to May followed by a resumption of the Bundesliga season. That was followed up by the conclusion of the UEFA Champions League in August which saw Leipzig reach the semifinals. But Adams welcomes to have a break from club duties.
Berhalter had a more optimistic view of where things stand. He has been in constant contact with his players throughout the pandemic, using technology as much as possible to keep players up to speed on his plans for the side.
“In this game [against Wales], it’s going to be probably six or seven guys that are on the field for the first time playing together, so it will be a new experience,” said Berhalter. “But I think when you look at the core, the players we were able to influence over the last 18 months, that’s definitely a group that is up to speed.”
The topic of racial justice has also been on the minds of the players. Adams said that the team is planning to make some kind of gesture prior to Thursday’s game, though he wouldn’t…