Who is USA soccer captain for World Cup? Tyler Adams one of youngest to wear armband in USMNT history – Sporting News

The U.S. men’s national team opted to play the long game when deciding who would lead the troops out during the 2022 World Cup.

Gregg Berhalter’s side waited until the eve of its opening match to name a captain, a fairly uncommon gesture around the world of international soccer.

The wait was well worth it, though; after a team vote, it was industrious midfielder Tyler Adams who was handed the armband for Qatar 2022.

It’s the latest highlight in what has been a whirlwind rise for the New York native, who went from teenage MLS phenom to swashbuckling Premier League destroyer in the space of seven years. Now, the 23-year-old adds another yet another feather to his cap, becoming one of the youngest players to lead the Star and Stripes out on the field in the World Cup.

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Here is everything you need to know about Adams, the player who supplanted the likes of Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie to earn the nod as skipper for this year’s tournament.

Who is USA soccer’s captain for World Cup? 

After weeks of deliberation (and one player-led vote), the results are in: the player slated to wear the armband during the USMNT’s World Cup run is Tyler Adams.

To many, Adams is the perfect embodiment of what the American soccer pyramid can be. Born and raised in upstate New York, Adams made his bones at hometown MLS club New York Red Bulls, featuring their youth teams before joining the first team at age 16.

Adams started his club career with a bang, bagging a goal against European soccer superpowers (and reigning Premier League champions) Chelsea as an adolescent.

It was a fairly linear progression for Adams, who made over 80 appearances in white-and-red. He developed a close-knit relationship with Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch, one that would pay dividends as he progressed up the soccer pyramid.

Adams swapped the L train for lederhosen in 2019, reuniting with Marsch at Bundesliga side RB Leipzig. He proceeded to tear things up, mopping things up as the team’s No. 6. He even scored big goals, including this late winner to seal Leipzig’s spot in the Champions League semifinals:

Marsch eventually took his talents to the Premier League with Leeds. Adams followed, joining the Whites for a reported £20 million ($24 million) fee this summer. He’s since become something of a cult figure at Elland Road, even earning his own chant after a string of strong showings in the middle of the park.

— American Hooligans 🇺🇸⚽️ (@AmericanHoolis) November 5, 2022

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How old is USA captain Tyler Adams?

At just 23 years of age, Adams is among the youngest captains in this year’s World Cup.

He’s long been a history maker, breaking into the first team at 16 and racking up nearly 120 appearances with Red Bulls and USL Championship feeder club Red Bulls II.

He made his first appearance for the USMNT in November 2017 as an 18-year-old, playing all 90 minutes against Portugal. 

Where does USA’s Tyler Adams play?

Adams currently mans the midfield at Leeds United, sharing the field with fellow American Brenden Aaronson.

He wasn’t cheap: Leeds reportedly paid £20 million ($24 million) for his services. But given his versatility in the center of the pitch — Adams ranks in the 76th percentile among top-five European league midfielders in progressive passing while showcasing an elite penchant for making tackles and blocks (90th percentile in both categories) — it could prove to be money well-spent.

He’s been a fixture in Marsch’s first team since arriving, taking part in 13 of Leeds’ 14 Premier League games.

Tyler Adams USA goals, caps

Since breaking through at Red Bull Arena as a youngster, Adams has been tipped for international greatness. He’s lived up to the hype so far, earning his first senior cap in 2017. Adams has nabbed 31 additional caps since then, playing a pivotal role in the U.S.’s CONCACAF Nations League triumph in 2020.

Adams even found the back of the net on one occasion, calmly stroking a strike past the Mexico defense back in 2018.

Adams paints a poised figure in the center of the park, a stark contrast to the more combative play of midfield mate McKennie.

However, his positional versatility made things a challenge in his early days with the Stars and Stripes. Tactically flexible enough to fill in at right back and right wingback, Adams routinely dovetailed with the likes of DeAndre Yedlin and Shaq Moore on the flanks. Sergiño Dest’s emergence over the past few years, though, has allowed Adams to fill in his natural No. 6/No. 8 position, a welcome sight for Berhalter and his staff as they ready for a (potentially) lengthy run under the gleaming Qatari sun.

Past USMNT World Cup captains

Berhalter’s announcement cements Adams’ place in USMNT history. He becomes one of precious few Americans to sport the armband during the World Cup, joining national team legends Clint Dempsey, Carlos Bocanegra and Claudio Reyna, among others.

Here’s the complete list of American men to rock the armband for the Stars and Stripes:

World Cup U.S. Captain Age
Qatar 2022 Tyler Adams 23
Brazil 2014 Clint Dempsey 31
South Africa 2010 Carlos Bocanegra 31
Germany 2006 Claudio Reyna 32
South Korea/Japan 2002 Claudio Reyna 28
France 1998 Thomas Dooley 37
USA 1994 Tony Meola 25
Italy 1990 Mike Windischmann 24
Brazil 1950 Walter Bahr/Ed McIlvenny 23/25
Italy 1934 Unknown n/a
Uruguay 1930 Tom Florie 33