DOHA, Qatar (AP) – President Joe Biden called America’s World Cup squad ahead of their opener against Wales, urging them to “shock them all.”
Biden called the team around 11:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m. EST) on Friday, the US Soccer Association said Sunday.
“It says POTUS. That’s where it comes from,” US coach Gregg Berhalter said, reading the phone’s caller ID, according to excerpts from a Video of players listening to the call.
“Coach, put me in. I’m ready to play,” Biden began, repeating John Fogerty’s 1985 song “Centerfield.”
“Guys I know you’re the underdog but I’ll tell you what man you have some of the best players in the world on your team and you represent this country and I know you’re going to play your heart out , so let’s shock them all,” Biden said.
“You keep trusting each other, playing as hard as you can, and for you and your families, your teammates — and the whole country supports you,” Biden continued.
Berhalter and the players thanked Biden for his call, which came two days before Biden’s 80th birthday.
“I wish I was there to see you, I really am,” Biden said. “Go get them guys. Just play your heart out. I know you will. I know you will.”
Back in the World Cup after missing the 2018 tournament, the United States open against Wales on Monday, meet England on Friday and close out the group stage game against Iran on November 29.
(Copyright (c) 2022 Sunbeam Television. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed.)
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