7 members of US soccer team have ties to Tri-State

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Monday, November 21, 2022 9:30PM
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President Biden called the U.S. men's soccer team to wish them luck ahead of their first match in the World Cup.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The World Cup is underway in Qatar and Team USA tied its first game 1-1 against the team from Wales.

Of the 26 players on the team, four are from New York and two are from New Jersey. Plus, their coach also has ties to New Jersey.

Gregg Berhalter is from Englewood and played soccer at Saint Benedict's Prep in Newark.

A few days ago, the school was named the number one boy's soccer team in the country. It's the school's 14th time at the top of the rankings.

Berhalter was a member of the team's first top-ranked squad in 1990.

Aside from Berhalter, six players from the U.S. Men's National Soccer Team have local ties -- including Tim Weah who scored the first U.S. goal in Monday's game.

Weah, a son of former FIFA Player of the Year and current Liberian President George Weah, scored after a pass from Christian Pulisic in the 36th minute.

Weah ran toward the American fans with arms extended and slid on both knees. He was mobbed by teammates, then raised both hands skyward and blew a kiss to the heavens.

Before their match, the team shared a video of President Joe biden calling the team to wish them well at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

"You guys, I know you're the underdog, but I'll tell you what man, you 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," Biden said. "So let's go shock them all. Keep trusting in one another. Play as hard as you can and you know, for you and your families, your teammates and the whole country is rooting for you."

The match was played in the Arabian desert west of Doha at rebuilt Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, lit in brilliant colors and featuring an exterior facade meant to replicate undulating sand dunes.

The U.S. Soccer Federation sold about 3,300 tickets, and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken was on hand in the crowd of 43,418.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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