USMNT to push ‘Be the Change’ message in Qatar

DOHA, Qatar — United States men’s national team coach Greg Berhalter said he and his team will continue to promote the team’s message of “Be the Change” while in Qatar, even though FIFA has told participants not to raise awareness about the host country’s treatment of migrant workers and the LGBTQIA+ community.

Those two issues have been highlighted since the Gulf nation won the World Cup in 2010. Same-sex relationships are against the law in Qatar and migrant workers, some of whom built the stadiums that will to be used in the World Cup, they had to endure extremely difficult working and living conditions.

– Marcotti: How FIFA can make real change for migrants in Qatar

Earlier this month, a letter from FIFA president Gianni Infantino and general secretary Fatma Samoura pleaded with the 32 participating teams to “Please, let’s focus on football now!” and “not to allow football to be dragged into every ideological or political battle that exists. “

Qatar’s emir, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, also weighed in, denouncing “fabrications and double standards” in what he called an “unprecedented campaign” against a World Cup host nation.

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But Berhalter said he and his side will continue to raise awareness of social issues.

“I think when we’re on the world stage and [we’re in] Qatar, it is important to raise awareness of these issues, and that is what Be the Change is all about,” said Berhalter. “It is not only the state that we want to draw attention to social issues. It is also abroad.

“We recognize that Qatar has made strides and a lot of progress has been made, but there’s still a bit of work to be done. And I think it’s just, Be the Change basically represents everyone’s individual opportunity to make change and for change to start with them. that it is right to have it here too”.

The US emblem has also been modified with rainbow colors, although only in places controlled by the US, such as their training facility.

Berhalter added that he has been talking to his team about social justice issues in Qatar “for the past 18 months.” The players are also on board.

American goalkeeper Sean Johnson said:[Be the Change is] something that we were really proud of and obviously we will continue to work to have an influence” in Qatar.

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On Tuesday the team is scheduled to participate in an event where they will mentor 20 migrant workers involved in building tournament infrastructure. The event aims to celebrate the contribution of workers to the World Cup.

The Be the Change program launched in November 2020, with the message being placed on the team’s warm-up jackets. It was done as a way of supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and the social justice protests that took place across the US following the killing of George Floyd in May 2020.

The USMNT later used the phrase as a way to support gun control measures brought before the US Congress.

Meanwhile, forward Christian Pulisic will wear No. 10 for the United States at the World Cup and goalkeeper Matt Turner will wear No. 1.

Team USA announced their jersey numbers Monday, a week before they play Wales in Al Rayyan, Qatar, in their first World Cup game since 2014. DeAndre Yedlin, the lone holdover from the roster before eight years, he will wear No. 22 instead of No. 2.

Twenty-two of the 26 players were in Qatar ahead of Monday’s training session, with Sergino Dest, Weston McKennie, Tim Weah and Haji Wright expected later in the day after Sunday’s scheduled league games with their European clubs.

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Previous No. 10s have included Peter Vermes (1990), Roy Wegerle (1994), Tab Ramos (1998), Claudio Reyna (2002 and 2006), Landon Donovan (2010) and Mix Diskerud (2014).

Turner follows Tony Meola, who wore No. 1 in 1990 and ’94, Brad Friedel in 1998 and 2002 and Tim Howard in 2006, ’10 and ’14.

The other jersey numbers: Walker Zimmerman No. 3, Tyler Adams No. 4, Antonee Robinson No. 5, Yunus Musah No. 6, Gio Reyna No. 7, McKennie No. 8, Jesus Ferreira No. 9, Brenden Aaronson No. 11, Ethan Horvath No. 12, Tim Reem No. 13, Luca de la Torre No. 14, Aaron Long No. 15, Jordan Morris No. 16, Christian Roldan No. 17, Zach Moore No. 18, Wright No. 19 , Cameron Carter-Vickers No. 20, Weah No. 21, Kellyn Acosta No. 23, Josh Sargent No. 24, Sean Johnson No. 25 and Joe Scally No. 26.

Information from the Associated Press was included in this report.

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