‘Diversity of US team’ reflects true America
COLUMBUS: A day before taking on Mexico in a highly-charged clash, United States midfielder Alejandro Bedoya says the diverse make-up of the national team is a “true representation of what America is all about”. The always fiery World Cup qualifier between the two countries comes in the week of Donald Trump’s election as US president after a campaign which featured controversial rhetoric from the Republican about illegal immigrants from Mexico.
The game also takes place in Ohio, one of the rust belt states which helped deliver victory for Trump in Tuesday’s ballot. Florida-born Bedoya, who is of Colombian descent, has not hidden his opposition to Trump during the campaign and while stressing he didn’t want the game to be ‘politicized’ offered a reminder of the make-up of the US team. “The one thing that I am very proud about is to be part of the US national team and the diversity that you see on this team - this a true representation of what America is all about,” said Bedoya.
The American team is coached by German Juergen Klinsmann and features players from a multitude of ethnic backgrounds. Defenders Omar Gonzalez and Michael Orozco are both Californians from Mexican-American families, who play for clubs in the Mexican league. Jermaine Jones, Fabian Johnson, John Brooks, Julian Green and Timothy Chandler are all from mixed German and African-American parentage while likely starting forward Jozy Altidore is from a Haitian-American family and his strike partner Bobby Wood was born in Hawaii of Japanese and African-American heritage. “The diversity on this team is a truly awesome thing,” said Bedoya who added he did not expect any insults or tension between the two sets of supporters at the stadium. “I think everyone brings their passion here. This is what the beautiful game is all about. Soccer has always been a sport that has been able to unite many people. I would think that everyone comes out here, passionate as always,” said the winger. “This Columbus crowd has always been a good pro-American crowd and is the reason why we play these games here. The atmosphere is awesome and one of kind and that is what people will bring here and hopefully nothing else. There is no need for negative chants from either side. “People want to politicize this game but I don’t think there is a need for that,” he said.