Biden gives US soccer team pep talk ahead of first World Cup match
President Biden on Sunday phoned the U.S. men’s national soccer team in Qatar ahead of its first match of the World Cup.
“You guys, I know you’re the underdog, but I’ll tell you what man, you’ve got some of the best players in the world on your team and you’re representing this country, and I know you’re gonna play your hearts out, so let’s go shock them all,” Biden told the group in a video of the call shared by the White House and the national team.
“The whole country is rooting for you,” Biden added.
Gregg Berhalter, the coach of the men’s team, expressed his appreciation for the call, and players gathered in the room also greeted Biden, who was on speakerphone.
“I wish I were there to see you, I really do. Go get ‘em guys, just play your hearts out,” Biden said.
The U.S. men’s team opens its World Cup on Monday with a match against Wales. It will mark the first World Cup match for the U.S. men’s team in eight years after the group failed to qualify for the 2018 event.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Qatar to represent the Biden administration at the event, which has been overshadowed by concerns about the country’s human rights record.