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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Jesus Ferreira reflects on limited role at the 2022 World Cup

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Jesus Ferreira made his World Cup debut at the 2022 edition in Qatar, representing the United States men’s national team under head coach Gregg Berhalter. 

The call up to the 26-player roster stood as no surprise, after he played an integral part for the USMNT during Concacaf qualifiers. He inspired the American team to third on the table with 25 points in 14 games to clinch a ticket to the international tournament for the first time since 2014. 

Despite years of dreaming, nothing could have prepared Ferreira for the sport’s biggest stage. 

“[The World Cup] was amazing. As a kid, you grow up watching World Cup games knowing that those are the most important in a player’s life. So for me to be able to achieve that and be able to represent a country like the United States, it meant everything. You never know how the World Cup would be, and for me to experience it first hand it was the most amazing feeling,” he said in an exclusive interview with 90min

“It was crazy, knowing how many people were behind you, supporting you, especially to do it with a group of guys that were so connected and ready for battle.”

But the reality quickly set in as Ferreira’s active involvement in Berhalter’s starting 11 came to a screeching halt. The forward unexpectedly failed to feature in all three group stage games, taking a backseat role as Josh Sargent and Haji Wright kicked off. 

“Obviously for me, as a soccer player, it was upsetting [not to play in the Group Stage matches.] Because you want to be on the field, trying to help the team as much as you can. But I think I used that upset as fuel, for me to show the coaches and my teammates that no matter what role I am playing I will be present and supporting, doing everything that I can to help.”

It wasn’t until the USMNT’s Round of 16 match against the Netherlands that Ferreira saw time in that number 9 role. 

“I think the coaching staff, my teammates saw that. How much I didn’t care about what role I was taking part of. Then they gave me that opportunity against the Netherlands.”

He played for the first 45 minutes, before being subbed off for the second half. Given his limited role in the recent tournament, Ferreira is understandably determined to reach the 2026 World Cup. 

“Hopefully I get the opportunity to be at another World Cup, I think it would be just like the first one: a dream come true to be able to represent the United States, especially at home.”

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