EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The U.S. men’s national team released the roster for its pair of final pre-World Cup matches on Wednesday.

San Elizario’s Ricardo Pepi is one of 26 players that USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter has called for as the team will play two final tune-up matches before the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in November.

Pepi will play with the USMNT as they take on Japan on Sept. 23 at the the Düsseldorf Arena in Düsseldorf, Germany. Four days later, the team will face Saudi Arabia in Muricia, Spain.

These will be the final matches the USMNT will play before the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The team will begin reporting to Cologne, Germany this weekend, according to the USMNT.

This will be the first time since the March qualifiers that Pepi is back with the USMNT.

More on USMNT Training Camp roster (Courtesy: U.S. Soccer)

CHICAGO (Sept. 14, 2022) – Two months to the day prior to the start of the U.S. Men’s National Team camp in Qatar, head coach Gregg Berhalter has called 26 players for the USA’s final matches ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The BioSteel USMNT Training Camp roster will begin reporting to Cologne, Germany this weekend.

The U.S. Men’s National Team will face fellow World Cup finalist Japan on Sept. 23 at the Düsseldorf Arena in Düsseldorf, Germany. Kickoff is set for 8:26 a.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and ESPN+ (8 a.m. ET), UniMás and TUDN (8:20 a.m. ET).

Four days later, the team will be in Murcia, Spain to meet Saudi Arabia on Sept. 27 at the Estadio Nueva Condomina. Coverage on FS1, UniMás and TUDN begins at 1:30 p.m. ET, with the match kicking off at 2 p.m. ET.

Fans will also be able to follow all the matches via Facebook, Twitter @USMNT, Instagram @USMNT and the official U.S. Soccer App.

The September matches in Europe will be the USA’s final opportunities to prepare ahead of the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Drawn alongside Wales, England and IR Iran in Group B, the USMNT will compete in the strongest overall group in Qatar, with the four sides holding an average rank of 15 according to the August 2022 FIFA World Ranking. 

“As we approach the World Cup, this is another opportunity for us to take a step forward as a group,” Berhalter said. “We have a strong roster and can use these games as a measuring stick against World Cup opponents as we continue to gain valuable experience ahead of going to Qatar.”

DETAILED ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB/COUNTRY; CAPS/GOALS)

GOALKEEPERS (3): Ethan Horvath (Luton Town/ENG; 8/0), Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 10/0), Matt Turner (Arsenal/ENG; 18/0)

DEFENDERS (9): Reggie Cannon (Boavista/POR; 27/1), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic/SCO; 11/0), Sergiño Dest (AC Milan/ITA; 17/2), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 27/3), Chris Richards (Crystal Palace/ENG; 8/0), Joe Scally (Borussia Mönchengladbach/GER; 2/0), Sam Vines (Royal Antwerp/BEL; 8/1), DeAndre Yedlin (Inter Miami; 74/0), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; 31/3)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Kellyn Acosta (LAFC; 52/2), Tyler Adams (Leeds United/ENG; 30/1), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo/ESP; 11/0), Weston McKennie (Juventus/ITA; 35/9), Yunus Musah (Valencia/ESP; 19/0), Malik Tillman (Rangers/SCO; 2/0)

FORWARDS (8): Brenden Aaronson (Leeds United/ENG; 22/6), Paul Arriola (FC Dallas; 47/10), Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas; 13/7), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders; 48/11), Ricardo Pepi (Groningen/NED; 11/3), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 51/21), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 12/4), Josh Sargent (Norwich City/ENG; 19/3)


The matches are scheduled during a FIFA international window, making all players available for selection.

MEASURING STICKS

After qualifying for the World Cup, the USMNT launched into World Cup preparation mode by using the remaining four friendly matches to challenge itself against fellow tournament participants. The U.S. lined up opponents from three different confederations (AFC, CAF, CONMEBOL). Including the 3-0 win against Morocco and the scoreless draw against 13th-ranked Uruguay in June, the USMNT will have faced four different World Cup teams prior to traveling to Qatar in November.

In addition, a total of 21 players will have the chance to make their first international appearance against a side from the Asian Football Confederation during the September camp. Only Kellyn Acosta, Paul Arriola, Reggie Cannon, Matt Turner and Sam Vines have represented the USA against a team from that region, coming in the 1-0 win against Qatar in the Concacaf Gold Cup semifinal on July 29, 2021.

CHANGE OF ADDRESS

Since the U.S. team last gathered in June, a number of players on the roster have switched clubs and are making strides. First to England and the duo of Brenden Aaronson and Tyler Adams, who left the Red Bull family – from Salzburg and Leipzig, respectively – and made the jump to the English Premier League, where both have become regular starters at Leeds United. Chris Richards departed from German champion Bayern Munich to join Crystal Palace in England’s top flight. Matt Turner officially made the move to Arsenal in the Premier League after agreeing a deal in February, while Ethan Horvath is now minding the net at Luton Town in the English League Championship following his time at Nottingham Forest.

Sergiño Dest crossed the Mediterranean Sea from one powerhouse to another, leaving Barcelona for defending Serie A champion AC Milan where he will continue to compete in the UEFA Champions League. Luca de la Torre jumped from Eredivisie side Heracles to Celta Vigo in Spain’s La Liga. Cameron Carter-Vickers made his loan to Scottish Premier League champion Celtic permanent, while Malik Tillman joined up with crosstown rival Rangers. Both join Dest in Champions League competition. Meantime, striker Ricardo Pepi has gone on loan to the high-scoring Dutch Eredivisie where he now lines up for FC Groningen.

“YOUNGEST TEAM IN THE WORLD” GROWS THROUGH EXPERIENCE

The USMNT was by far the youngest team to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, garnering valuable experience going through the rigors of World Cup qualifying. Through 14 qualifiers, the USA Starting XI came in at an average of 23.82, almost two years younger than the next closest team, Ghana at 25.67. Together, the 31 teams averaged a Starting XI age of 27.5 through qualifying, nearly four full years older than the Gregg Berhalter’s side.

From the available data for the qualified teams, the USMNT played 10 of the 11 youngest lineups worldwide during the recently concluded cycle, with all 14 lineups falling in the 23 youngest Starting XIs in the world during qualifiers dating back to October 2020. After its successful qualifying campaign, each match is another opportunity for the young USMNT player pool to gain experience against top-flight competition.


ROSTER NOTES:

  • The roster will hold an average age of 24 years, 201 days as of the first day of training on Sept. 19.
  • Thirteen players are age 23 and younger.
  • The roster features players who ply their trade in nine different countries: USA (8), England (7), Germany (2), Italy (2), Scotland (2), Spain (2), Belgium (1), Netherlands (1), Portugal (1)
  • Seven players have already participated in European club competition this season.  Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic), Sergiño Dest (AC Milan), Weston McKennie (Italy), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund) and Malik Tillman played for their clubs in the UEFA Champions League last week, before Matt Turner made his Arsenal debut in the club’s opening UEFA Europa League tie last Thursday.
  • Six players return to the USMNT roster after not taking part in the team’s June gathering: Sergiño Dest, Ricardo Pepi, Gio Reyna, Chris Richards, Josh Sargent and Sam Vines
  • Josh Sargent returns for the first time since the USMNT’s opening World Cup qualifying matches in September 2021. The 22-year-old striker has scored five goals in eight matches for Norwich City so far this season, tying him for second in the EFL Championship scoring race.
  • A member of the 2021 Gold Cup championship side, defender Sam Vines receives his first call-up since last November. Vines has appeared in all eight matches for Belgian Jupiler League leaders Royal Antwerp, registering one goal along the way to a perfect 8-0-0 start.
  • Ricardo Pepi and Gio Reyna are back with the team for the first time since the March qualifiers, while Sergiño Dest and Chris Richards were last with the squad during the January/February qualifying window.
  • Reyna comes off a week where he became the first U.S. international to record two assists in a Champions League match, helping Borussia Dortmund to a 3-0 victory over FC Kobenhavn.
  • Pepi made his debut for Eredivisie side Groningen on Sunday, assisting on the game-winning goal in a 1-0 victory at Cambuur.
  • With two more goals at the weekend, 21-year-old FC Dallas forward Jesús Ferreira took his season total to 18, tying former U.S. internationals Kenny Cooper and Jason Kreis for the club’s single-season scoring record. Ferreira, who has also contributed five assists in 30 matches this season, has three more games to set a new club goal-scoring record. 
  • During his Man of the Match performance against El Salvador on June 14, midfielder Yunus Musah (1,413) surpassed Christian Pulisic (1,328) for most minutes played by a USMNT teenager. Set to turn 20 on Nov. 29 – the day of the USA’s third World Cup group stage match against Iran – the midfielder has up to four more matches to extend the record.
  • Twenty-one players will have the chance to make their first international appearance against a side from the Asian Football Confederation during the September camp. Only Kellyn Acosta, Paul Arriola, Reggie Cannon, Matt Turner and Sam Vines have represented the USA against a team from that region, coming in the 1-0 win against Qatar in the Concacaf Gold Cup semifinal on July 29, 2021.