The National Soccer Team has trained at Red Bull Stadium in Harrison, New Jersey, not far from New York City. Recently, the team won an important “friendly” match against a strong opponent, Turkey.
The Americans are hoping to do well at the World Cup -- the championship of international football, or soccer as it is called in the U.S. But it will not be easy to advance, earning the right to move up at the competition.
As play begins, the U.S. team will be competing in what has been called the “Group of Death,” which describes the most difficult group at the World Cup Finals. Germany, Ghana and Portugal are also part of the “Group of Death.” The U.S. has to play all three teams to get to the next level of play.
Last month, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann spoke to reporters. Jurgen Klinsman is a former German star player and coach. He has served as head of the U.S. team since 2011. He is hopeful about the U.S. team succeeding.
“It’s a tough group. But we are expected and we expect from ourselves to do well. We expect to go into the knockout stage. So we've got to figure out a way to do that. That’s what we are working on. We believe we can absolutely go into the next round, you know. Will it be tough games, tight games? Absolutely. That’s what the World Cup is all about.”
Clint Dempsey is the captain of the U.S. Team. He said it was an honor to be named to that position.
“Anytime you can go into a World Cup and be the captain for your country something is very special and you never forget. But during this World Cup qualifying process, once Jurgen named me captain, I just try the best that I can to lead in a way that I know how to."
Clint Dempsey’s teammates also spoke to reporters. They were hopeful about the team’s performance in Brazil. But coach Klinsmann sought to limit expectations.
“Germany is expected to win the World Cup. I don’t think we expect now us to win the World Cup, but definitely we want to go far. We want to, we want to do well.”
The U.S. team plays its first match of the competition in Natal, Brazil on June 16th. The opponent will be Ghana, the team that has beaten the U.S. in each of the past two World Cups.
The U.S. team has qualified for every FIFA World Cup Final since 1990.
I’m Mario Ritter.