See also the other World Cup 2022 demographics analyses:
Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Ecuador, England, France, Germany, Morocco, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Switzerland, Uruguay, USA, Wales.
This is a comprehensive racial-national ancestry analysis for the twenty-six players on the U.S. Men’s National Team roster at World Cup 2022, with each player considered separately and the findings summarized in a chart for reference. Ethno-cultural-political implications of the findings are a theme throughout.
The aggregate racial-national ancestry for the U.S. Men’s National Team’s World Cup 2022 squad (full roster) is:
- 54% White-Christian [13.95 / 26]
- … 40% White-Christian of U.S. origin (including Ream, Morris, Scally, Long, Zimmerman, Sargent, Aaronson, Pulisic [partly recent foreign].)
- … 14% White-Christian of recent foreign origin (post-1950) (mostly half-foreign ancestry from Reyna, Pulisic, De La Torre, Horvath.)
- 31% Black [7.95 / 26]
- ….. 7% Black of U.S. origin (including Adams [mixed], McKennie [mixed], Acosta [mixed].)
- … 24% Black of recent foreign origin (including Weah, Wright, Musah, Johnson, Moore, Robinson [mixed, UK-raised], and Carter-Vickers [mixed, UK-raised].)
- 8% Hispanic-Mestizo [2.0 / 26]
- ….. 4% of U.S. origin (Roldan, a 1980s arrival.)
- ….. 4% of foreign origin (Ferreira, a 2010s arrival.)
- 4% Jewish [1.0 / 26] (via Yedlin and Turner.)
- 1% East Asian [0.25 / 26] (Japanese, via Acosta.)
- 1% Middle Eastern [0.25 / 6] (via Morris.)
- 2% miscellaneous, not otherwise classified, or unknown [0.6 / 26] (Dest, Surinamese origin)
— Up to twelve men of the 26-man roster (ca. 45%) can be said to be full-White in origin, depending on definition. There is only one Hispanic-Mestizo of U.S.-origin. There are no full-Black-American players. —
See the chart for how this is derived, and the player profiles for explanations of each.
United States National Team — World Cup 2022
FIFA World Ranking of the USA as of the start-date of World Cup 2022:
13th / 211 world national-teams
Final ranking achieved by the USA at the 2022 World Cup tournament:
14th / 32 national-teams in World Cup
Four years ago, I created a series of racial ancestry team-profiles of the national teams of Europe at World Cup 2018. I intended to revive the project for World Cup 2022 for the nineteen European and European-derived countries “national teams” in the tournament. The purpose: the findings might give us insights into the state of our countries, cultures, and politics.
The USA entry in this (the 2022) series, published here, shall be by far the longest. Each of the twenty-six men on the Team-USA roster gets a comprehensive profile, focused on racial-national origins (where applicable) and ethnocultural-ancestral origins and affiliation, and any surprises or other matters of interest. The profiles average 700 words per player.
Much leaner and quicker versions of the other “national teams” for European and European-derived countries shall (I hope) follow, to be more like 7 words per player rather than 700. The USA entry (which you are reading) was a series of 26 research projects. The task was worth doing, as we get from it many interesting lessons. A mirror reflecting culture and politics back onto us in a different light, that we may see things more clearly.
The weak, tenuous, or dubious ties some of these men have to the USA raise questions about what citizenship means, what the nation is. That is one of the consistent themes of this study and is seen again and again in various forms. There are many other lessons in this study relevant to our culture and politics, relevant to the future of the West and its people, too many to summarize.
For those who just want the bite-sized info summary, fear not, I have a handy table for you to consult. Just know that all of the info therein is backed up and documented in the entries found here, though a portion of the data rests on best-guess estimates based on what we know. All the entries are in this post.
Primarily researched the week before World Cup 2022 began.
Ethnic, cultural, and national origins, and other biographical information pertinent to identity, for the 26 men on the U.S. Men’s National Team, World Cup 2022.
— about 750 words per player —
NOTE: Includes substantial original research, never before published or compiled in this form.
— Ethan Horvath: White-American, part Hungarian origin.
— Sean Johnson: Black, Jamaican-origin.
— Matt Turner: Jewish New York origin, recently-minted dual-citizen with Lithuania. (NOTE: Matt Turner is the likely the starting goalie).
— Cameron Carter-Vickers: half-Black-American origin (father), half-White-English (mother); raised in England.
— Sergiño Dest: Primarily Surinamese origin; raised in the Netherlands.
— Aaron Long: White-American of the Mojave Desert, California.
— Shaq Moore: full-Black, Trinidad & Tobago origin; ties to metro Atlanta and Florida.
— Tim Ream: White-American, Missouri, NW-European ancestry,
— Jedi Robinson: half-Black-Jamaican (father); half-White-English (mother).
— Joe Scally: White-American, New York; Italian and Irish-Catholic ancestry.
— DeAndre Yedlin: Jewish multiracial, Seattle; father said to have been of U.S.-Black and Dominican Republic origin; mother Jewish.
— Walker Zimmerman: White-American, Georgia, NW-European Protestant origin.
— Brenden Aaronson: White-American, surname Swedish origin, part Italian ancestry. New Jersey.
— Kellyn Acosta: Multiracial with substantial Subsaharan ancestry, about one Puerto Rican ancestry, and one-quarter Japanese. Raised in Texas.
— Tyler Adams: half-Black (father), half-White (mother); mother of Italian origin, New York area. White stepfather a recent-Scottish-origin soccer fanatic.
— Luca De La Torre: full-White-European; father from Spain, mother a NW-European White-American. San Diego.
— Weston McKennie: half-Black (father), half-White (mother, father a U.S. military officer.
— Yunus Musah: Black-African origin, Ghana.
— Cristian Roldan: Hispanic-Mestizo, Los Angeles.
— Jesus Ferreira: Hispanic-Mestizo, of Colombia; very recent foreign origin (gained U.S. citizenship, Dec. 2019).
— Jordan Morris: White-American with partial Middle East and Portuguese ancestry, Seattle.
— Christian Pulisic: White-American with relatively recent Croatian ancestry (father’s side, 1950s?) and NW-European (mother), Pennsylvania, New York family ties.
— Gio Reyna: half White-foreign origin (Argentina, Portugal) via father; half NW-European White-American (mother). New York.
— Josh Sargent: White-American, Missouri. Apparently Irish-Catholic ancestry.
— Tim Weah: Black-African foreign origin, Liberia and Jamaica. New York.
— Haji Wright: Black-African foreign origin, Liberia and Ghana. Los Angeles.
Team USA-2022 GOALKEEPERS
— White-American ancestry: 1.0 / 3
— White-foreign ancestry: 0.5 / 3
— Black-foreign ancestry: 1.0 / 3
— Jewish ancestry: 0.5 / 3
Ethnic-national origin: White. Half recent-foreign-origin (Hungary).
Ethan Horvath’s mother is apparently a White American. His father, Peter Horvath (b.1961), is a one-time professional soccer player and of Hungarian origin. Peter Horvath was listed as a citizen of Hungary during his 1980s-era career with a U.S. soccer league.
Peter Horvath arrived in the USA from Hungary in his youth and was the star soccer player in the late 1970s at Arapahoe High School in the southern fringe of the Denver metro area (near the (in-)famous Columbine). The Team-USA-2022 man Ethan Horvath (b.1995) was born and raised in the Denver metro area.
Evan Horvath was on an elite soccer track already by elementary school. By his late teens, a Norwegian pro club recruited him and he stayed with that club four years. He then went to a Belgian club for four years.
Evan Horvath was not considered likely to start at goalie and thus may not play at all in the tournament.
Racial-national origin: Black, recent foreign origin (Jamaica).
Sean Johnson was born and raised in Atlanta metro area, but his parents are both of Jamaican origin. He has played for MLS teams for twelve years (2010 to present), Chicago Fire and New York City FC.
Speaking in 2009 about his Jamaican origins, Sean Johnson said this:
“My parents…moved [to the USA] twenty-five to thirty years ago [i.e., the 1980s], so they lived the majority of their lives in the U.S. But their background, and most of their culture, comes from Jamaica. So that’s where I get my Jamaican culture from. Before college, I got over to Jamaica a lot more than I do know. I used to go two to three times a year, mostly during Christmas [or] during the summer, so, quite a bit.”
Sean Johnson on just how much his soccer origins revolved around Jamaica and the Jamaica diaspora:
“I actually played in a couple of local Jamaican leagues when I was younger. …I played well and there was a scout there that sent word back to Jamaica, and they got me right into the U-17 camp.” It seems the “Jamaican local leagues” he refers to are semi-formal leagues in the USA drawn from the local Jamaican population. This is not uncommon; in immigrant areas in the USA one can often see semi-formal soccer games with all the players appearing to be from one nationality. The “U-17 camp” Sean Johnson refers to is the training camp for the Under-17 national team in Jamaica. This would probably be in the 2004, 2005, early 2006 period — before May 2006, when he turned 17.
There was still leftover enthusiasm for soccer in Jamaica in the 2000s after their ‘cinderella’ run in astonishingly qualifying for the 1998 World Cup. There were three slots allotted to be distributed between thirty national teams competing for them, from Panama in the south and north to Canada and all the Caribbean. The USA and Mexico both qualified as expected; Jamaica defied odds and qualified over several strong Central American teams (and hapless Canada). When, a few years later, a Jamaican soccer scout was hanging around amateur and semi-amateur leagues in Metro Atlanta in the mid-2000s looking for prospects, it was no small deal.
The important part of this story is that Sean Johnson, of Jamaican origin, likely only ends up in pro soccer because of his Jamaica ties. From his strong start with the Jamaica Under-17 team, he proved good enough that U.S. soccer scouts eventually scooped him up, and by early 2009 he was playing in games for the Under-20 U.S. National Team.
The Jamaican media took interest in Sean Johnson, who has been a dual-citizen of Jamaica and the USA for all his adult life, whenever he was his with the U.S. National Team when they played against Jamaica, but Sean Johnson assured a reporter in 2012 that his parents support Team USA over Team Jamaica, because he was on Team USA.
Ethnic-national ancestry: Jewish, with partial European-Christian ancestry.
Raised in the New York City area, Matt Turner (original family surname: Turvoski) embraces the prestige attendant to his Jewish identity in the United States. He has said he grew up celebrating both Jewish and Christian holidays as his mother is of Catholic origin, but Matt Turner and his father are said to have sought Lithuanian citizenship, and surprisingly(?) easily at that, in recent years. Lithuania is the area in Europe to which they trace their Jewish ancestry. Extra passport, secured.
Matt Turner told a sports journalist in 2020 that “in the process of cleaning out his now late grandfather’s house, he stumbled upon his great grandmother’s emigration papers from Lithuania. She fled from religious persecution during World War II,” which gave him the idea to apply for dual-citizenship. “During” World War II? Hmm. No time to probe that one here. In any case, that happened in late 2015 or 2016, and the lightbulb went off in in either the mind of Matt Turner (then in his early twenties) or his father. The process was completed by late 2020. Matt Turner is today a “dual citizen” via his Jewish ancestry in Lithuania.
Does Matt Turner have any organic connection to the country or culture or people of Lithuania? Does he speak Lithuanian? I’d be shocked if so. Soon after he acquired Lithuanian ‘citizenship,’ a reporter asked Matt Turner if had ever been to the country of Lithuania. Matt Turner breezily told the reporter “No,” but promised to “eventually” pay a visit to the country. (Asking for a friend: Is that “chutzpah”?)
(Relatively, the humor site “Jew Or Not a Jew” profiled Matt Turner in late 2020 soon after word that he about the dual citizenship acquisition affair.)
I’m sorry Matt Turner fans, but this whole Lithuanian passport business rubs one as a cynical case of ‘instrumental citizenship’ (i.e., passport shopping), the pursuit and relatively easy acquisition of which undermines the concept of citizenship. As a social-cultural-political phenomenon, this phenomenon is certainly not limited to elite sports players — a long story, if you’ve like to get into it, for another time.
While still on the subject, the whole ‘instrumental citizenship’ is surprisingly (?) common on Team USA-2022. Even just among the three goalkeepers on the roster, at least two are dual-citizens (Sean Johnson, USA plus Jamaica; the US-born-and-raised Matt Turner a newly minted “Lithuanian citizen” who has never been to Lithuania). The third, Ethan Horvath, could probably easily acquire Hungarian citizenship if he wanted it. Interesting…
Of the three goalkeepers on the roster:
- 1 White-Christian (Horvath);
- 1 Jewish (Turner, half-Jewish by ancestry; dual-citizen via Jewish ancestry);
- 1 Black (Johnson, of Jamaican origin).
Note: Turner is likely to play goalie through the entire tournament.
— Of the three goalkeepers’ aggregate ancestry, the share that was resident the USA one century ago is believed to be: about 33% (half of Horvath’s, half of Turner’s, none of Johnson’s).
— Players whose ancestors were all (or nearly all) in the USA one century ago: 0 of 3.
— Players with (at least arguably) weak, dubious, or trivial ties to the USA: zero extreme cases. Two moderate cases (Turner, Johnson).
TEAM USA-2022 — DEFENDERS
— White-American ancestry: 4.0 / 9
— White-foreign ancestry: 1.6 / 9
— Black-U.S. ancestry: 0.6 / 9
— Black-foreign ancestry: 2.0 / 9
— Hispanic: 0 / 9
— Jewish ancestry: 0.5 / 9
— Other/Unknown non-European ancestry: 0.3 / 9
— Full-White players: 4 of 9 —
Racial-national ancestry: half-Black, half-White. Black-American father; White-English moher.
The Black father of Cameron Carter-Vickers was an American pro basketball player who went to Europe to play, became a French citizen, and, in the mid-1990s, linked up with a White Englishwoman.
The USA-2022 man, Carter-Vickers (born 1997) was raised entirely in England in the 2000s and into the 2010s. His father left the scene, back to his native Louisiana, not long after the boy’s birth. (See pic of the mixed-race soccer star Cameron-Vickers with his White-English mother.)
An account of Cameron Carter-Vickers’ life published by USA-Soccer in 2018 stressed that as a boy he “visit[ed]” the USA about once every other year, and that his Black father remained “good friends” with the White English mother, though they remained a good few thousand miles apart.
Cameron Carter-Vickers’ only connection to the USA, other than the biennial “visits,” begins in 2014 as a member of the USA Under-18 international soccer team. He has kept up that affiliation ever since, but to date there is no indication he has ever actually lived in the USA. His professional sport career has been played with a succession of club teams in England.
There is no real way to be nice about this: Cameron Carter-Vickers has a very weak connection to the USA, and dubious claim to be able to “represent” the USA, except insofar as national teams are like big-money sports-clubs with arbitrary rules of acquisition for players different from the purity of ‘the ‘pure’ big-money that control the top soccer leagues in Europe and buy players from wherever. Carter-Vickers’ true reason for being with Team USA is that he was better able to “make the cut” for the Team USA than for Team England.
This idea that players “shop around” for favorable conditions on the so-called “national teams” is a theme of this study, and will continue to be as we proceed. There are many other themes, though, which I hope to succeed in “showing, not telling” (the old advice), but let me ‘tell’ one thing here:
Cameron Carter-Vickers was born in December 1997, and over the coming two decades it was England that made him whatever it is he is. That means he ought to be personally thankful (I don’t know if he is) — but the body-politic, or the ‘nation,’ has a right to ask if political policy produced people like this, and whether such is a positive trend or not. I note that Tony Blair was elected in May 1997, and that soon thereafter immigration policy was opened up, wider than ever in British history:
In early May 1997, word came down that so-called “New Labour” had won the election and that Blair would be prime minister, and about the same time, the White-Englishwoman later to give birth to the boy to be named Cameron learned she was pregnant by the Black basketball player from Louisiana whom she had met while doing a working-holiday in Greece. They did not get married, and by some accounts the man never even went to England. The mother returned, though, and leaned on her own mother to raise the mixed-race child. This is a story entirely the Blair years; by the time Blair resigned in shame, the boy was nearly ten years old.
Carter-Vickers’ USA-2022 teammate Jedi Robinson has a very similar origin story (except an even more dubious connection to the USA): born in England in 1997 — the “New Labour, Tony Blair” year, Black-Jamaican-origin father, White-English mother. The births of these boys and the rise of the Tony Blair government are not directly connected phenomena, of course. I suggest only a poetic or thematic connection.
SERGIÑO ‘SER’ DEST
Racial-national ancestry: Surinamese with possible partial recent European.
His father is a multiracial Surinamese. His mother is said to be part- or full-Surinamese. Note that Suriname is formerly known as “Dutch Guiana.”
Sergiño Dest was raised in the Netherlands. It is not apparent that Dest has much of any connection to the USA, not through ancestry, residence, anything. The explanation for how this multi-racial man raised by a White mother in the Netherlands “represents the USA” which has been given is that his Suriname-origin father spent time in the USA and acquired citizenship through serving in the U.S. military. The father, Kenneth Dest (b.1948) was in the U.S. military when he first met the part-Surinamese woman (much) later to give birth to Sergiño Dest. Kenneth Dest was a star college soccer player in the USA before entering the Army, was stationed in Vietnam in the early 1970s and was, for a time, married to a Vietnamese woman in the 1970s.
Sergiño Dest’s mix of racial origins gives him a highly ambiguous look that could fit in many places around the world, although certainly not (traditionally) anywhere in Europe. If such a man made an appearance in Europe proper (not the colonies) before the advent multiracialist-multiculturalism, he might be assumed to be from some distant part of the Turkish Empire’s sprawling holdings, or maybe (in some lighting, in some eras) a North African pirate plying the Mediterranean looking for victims. Born and raised the Netherlands, a sports-journalist who sympathetically profiled the man and his family calls him “A different sort of Dutchman.”
Sergiño Dest’s father spoke out the week before the World Cup 2022 opened, addressing the question many might ask: what led his son, who had minimal connections to the USA, to play for the “U.S. National Team”? This was the centerpiece question behind a longform sports-journalism piece in the week before the World Cup began (“How Sergiño Dest, a ‘different’ sort of Dutchman, was drawn to the USMNT,” by Sam Stejskal, Nov. 14, 2022, The Athletic, 3000 words).
Why a man with tenuous connections to a country would play for its national team can be a tough question to answer with grace or dignity, even if it is hardly a unique one on Team-USA-2022. The answer the soccer star’s father gives is this: U.S. Soccer scouts had showed interest in Sergiño Dest back in youth-play in the early-mid 2010s. Only later did Team-Netherlands scouts show interest. His son stayed loyal to the people who showed first interest in him, akin to company loyalty, or perhaps like one’s decision to stay with this-or-that professional “club” team, alas.
There is no pretense that Sergiño Dest is an “American,” for he is assuredly not — except through the loophole of holding a passport applied for in order to qualify for a soccer team via a long-ago sojourn his Surinamese father had in a foreign country, the USA. (It’s okay if you didn’t quite follow all the steps involved there).
More on Sergiño Dest’s father’s ties to the USA late-1960s and 1970s-era ties to the USA:
“[Kenneth Dest] moved with his family to Brooklyn as a youngster. After playing soccer at SUNY Canton in upstate New York, the elder Dest was drafted into the U.S. Army and served in the Vietnam War. He remained in the military after Vietnam, and was eventually stationed in Germany. While there, he’d occasionally travel to Amsterdam for leisure time. He met Sergiño’s mother, a Dutchwoman of Surinamese origin, on one such trip. They began dating, broke up due to the strains of long distance, but later ended up back together, with the couple ultimately settling in Almere, where they had Sergiño.”
As I am trying to comprehensive for the 26-man squad, I need to come up with a full-ancestry estimate for Sergiño Dest and his complicated origins. Absent seeing 23andMe results, I can offer only this plausible guess from what we know, on the racial-ancestry of Sergiño Dest:
- 35% Black-Subsaharan;
- 25% miscellaneous non-European (incl. possible East-Asian, Amerind, and more in highly multiracial Suriname);
- 40% White-European.
The only one with more complicated racial-ancestry than Dest is midfielder-teammate Kellyn Acosta.
Racial-national ancestry: White-American.
Aaron Long grew up in the 1990s and 2000s in the Mojave Desert, California. A friend once said this of Aaron Long’s origins: “He’s not really from ‘California.’ He’s from ‘the desert’…”
Aaron Long started playing in the MLS soccer league in 2017 after existing on the margins of professional soccer over the previous few years. Unlike many other players, Long does not apparently have any professional-sports ancestry or the experience of being pushed through elite soccer from a young age. Before finally breaking into his current ‘career’ of full-time pro soccer, Aaron Long was a construction worker.
In one informal interview in October 2022 with the question “Which teammates would you trust most and least to babysit,” several teammates said they would trust Aaron Long most. Aaron may be popular among his fellow Team-USA members, but the fanbase is said to dislike him, with negative comments on Aaron Long getting high numbers of “Likes” on social media (see here).
Aaron Long may be unpopular for vocally criticizing teammates when they err or have runaway egos (for the non-elite Aaron Long was not raised around these sports-elites). His no-nonsense criticism of U.S. Men’s National Team hothead Tyler Adams in the past when the multiracial midfielder Tyler Adams performed poorly, stormed around and blamed others. Long’s criticism suggests he saw Tyler Adams (black father, White mother) as entitled and not an effective team-player. A sports reporter in April 2020 said Aaron Long regarded teammate Tyler Adams as “the biggest pest in the current USMNT pool.” (Tyler Adams is fully profiled below, and they are still today co-members of the USMNT, U.S. Men’s National Team.)
Something in this criticism suggests Aaron Long belongs, in mentality terms, to something of an earlier generation of workmanlike sportsmanship, personal-responsibility, and teamwork — rather than showboating and egotism. Incidentally, Aaron Long is the sixth player (of 26) so far profiled for Team-USA-2022 — and finally we arrived at one with unambiguous, full-American origin without any “asterisks” at all that I can determine.
SHAQUELL KWAME ‘SHAQ’ MOORE
Racial-national ancestry: Black, recent foreign origin — Tobago (of Trinidad & Tobago, Caribbean).
Shaq Moore has professional soccer player relatives on both sides, including his own father (Wendell Moore, b.1964), whose family was able to migrate to the USA in the 1980s from Trinidad & Tobago.
The father Wendell Moore eventually located himself in Florida, where he played semi-pro soccer, and he had ties to the Trinidad & Tobago national team in the 1980s. Wendell Moore took a wife from back home in Tobago, which makes Shaq Moore 100% Black-Caribbean in origin without ties to the U.S. black population (ADOS).
Shaq Moore himself (b.1996) moved steadily through the elite soccer pipeline, as encouraged by his pro-soccer dad, including time with elite youth training camps. When coming out the other end of all that, Shaq Moore was recruited by Huracán Valencia, a second-tier club in Spain, at age 18. Like most of the rest of Team-USA-2022, he did not bother with college or “college sports” in the U.S.
After playing for a series of other clubs in Spain for a number of years (2014-2021), for the 2022 season, he signed on with the Nashville MLS team. As MLS teams go, Nashville was decent in 2022. In its regular-season record, it tied for 8th of 28 teams in the MLS league in Wins-Losses, and tied for 6th in Goal Difference. But, then, the MLS would be a second-tier league in Europe.
Shaq Moore’s ties to the USA are not deep, and he speaks with a Caribbean-inflected accent, such that if an American accustomed to interacting with American Blacks met and spoke with him, the interlocutor would quickly pick up that he is a foreigner. (These shibboleths as cultural-origin signals are everywhere, and even operate within mono-racial, mon-ethnic environments, of course.) In an interview with a Georgia tv station after it was announced that he had been chosen for Team-USA, Shaq Moore was a little noncommittal about his ties to the state of Georgia, saying: “I have roots in Florida, as well, so — uh — yeah.”
Shaq Moore is one of three with ties to the Atlanta metro area on Team-USA-2022. Two are of Black-Caribbean origin, the other being goalie Sean Johnson; the third is Walker Zimmerman (White-American origin). Only Zimmerman is actually firmly tied to Georgia.
Racial-national ancestry: White-American.
Tim Ream is one of about seven or eight players on the Team-USA roster (of 26 total players) with something like a “classic American look” and background to match.
He comes from Middle America, is of NW-European ancestral stock, and of Protestant origin — all understood to the broad ethnocultural core of the nation, to the extent one conceptualizes (is allowed to conceptualize?) the USA as a normal, organic nation.
Born in St. Louis, Tim Ream graduated from St. Louis University in 2010, where he excelled on the college soccer team. (See pic of Tim Ream’s college era soccer.) He went ‘pro’ after college, two seasons in professional soccer in the USA. In early 2012, Tim Ream began a lucrative career in England and he has likely much spent more time away from the USA than in it between ages 25 and 35, which must inevitably have had a psychological effect, but who knows.
Just before his big break in being offered a contract by one of the big-money English clubs, he got married to fellow St. Louis area soccer prodigy Kristen Sapienza (b.1988). Kristen was a standout soccer star in the St. Louis area and Midwest region already in childhood, continued with it through high school, and college at St. Louis University, which is where she met fellow standout soccer star Tim Ream. Their relationship is more in the median zone between hometown-romance and elite-sports, and if experience is any judge, expect a professional soccer player surnamed Ream to be active in the 2030s or 2040s, as the pair have three children.
The decade of residence in England and the steady marination in the world of intense professional sports has an impact on anyone, including potentially on ethnocultural identity, a theme with many of these players. Already in a 2015, in a friendly interview with the hometown newspaper after just over three years in England, Tim Ream worried that his oldest son would end up with a British accent (“SLU grad is fitting right in with English club,” by Tom Zimmerman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 26, 2015). The subtext being he would lose sense of firm or rooted personal identity and instead float along on some parallel-universe of transnational existence involving big-money interests, which seems an almost guaranteed corrupter of morals.
On Tim Ream’s own rootedness: I believe his father is Scott Ream (b.1962) of Missouri. Scott Ream was a star college soccer player with Maryville College, Tennessee (a Presbyterian college), one of their best all-time players. He was named “Division III, All-Midwest” in 1983. Add Tim Ream, therefore, to the long list of multi-generational soccer players associated withTeam-USA-2022.
Tim Ream’s ancestry is probably of the usual type for Middle America, summarizable as NW-European; some lines probably go back four centuries in North America.
Tim Ream’s mother was born Patty Gorman, the daughter of Martin D. Gorman (1932-2017) and Joann Moeller, both apparently with significant Missouri ties. Some of Martin Gorman’s ancestors were from “Prussia” (according to the 1930 census, Charles Gorman household [father of Martin D. Gorman], living on North 17th Street, St. Louis). Martin D. Gorman was a Korean War veteran, apparently drafted into the Army for such purpose at about age twenty, which took him away from work in a small industrial concern. The Gorman line is Catholic, presumably Irish-Catholic. The soccer player Tim Ream, too, was put into a Catholic high school in the St. Louis area — though the likelihood is he has substantial Protestant ancestry on both sides.
On Tim Ream’s father’s side, the Ream and related families: The “Ream” family- name traces to the 1710s in North America by one account, participating in the pioneer settlement of Pennsylvania. Though the original Ream arrival was a German and probably a Calvinist according to the genealogy account just linked-to, in later history the Ream name is often affiliated with Quakers. (An unrelated Scott Ream was a star American-football and basketball player at a Quaker college in Indiana in the late 1960s.) The Team-USA-2022 man could be a direct or collateral descendant of Norman Ream (1844-1915), a Quaker business tycoon active in the Illinois. The geography and affiliation fit, but there are so many Reams out there that it’s impossible to say.
In sum, Tim Ream’s ancestors participated in building up the USA over generations and centuries. On many other “national teams” that would be uninteresting for being nearly universally applicable, but in this case it almost makes him almost unusual on Team-USA.
ANTONEE ‘JEDI’ ROBINSON
Racial origin: Half-Black, half-White; (Jamaican-origin father, White-English mother).
Jedi Robinson has never lived in the USA and is one of several men on the “U.S. national team” roster who compete for “most tenuous and/or dubious connection to America.” A Sports Illustrated reporter in 2020 euphemistically called Jedi Robinson’s America connections “unique.” He helpfully added that the soccer star is “eager” to “firm up” his ties to the USA (frankly virtually non-existent ties), to the country on whose “national team” he plays. When coming onto a new club-team, a player might similarly declare that he wants to sample local food and see sights and all.
Like teammate Cameron Carter-Vickers, Jedi Robinson was born in England in 1997 to a White mother and Black father. That this is the year of the Tony Blair “New Labour” election victory I already commented on in the Carter-Vickers entry above. Like Carter-Vickers, his mother was a White Englishwoman and his father, Black. The Black father in this case was of Jamaican origin but had had ties to England back to the 1970s or so.
From age 11 (about 2008), Jedi Robinson has been involved in professional soccer in England, through the well-oiled machine of the English soccer clubs and their youth-development programs. At no point did Jedi Robinson ever live in the USA.
Where is the USA connection? It is this: Jedi Robinson’s father, Marlon Robinson, spent “about a decade” in the USA, at first hosted by Jamaican relatives in White Plains, New York, as a late-teenager. Marlon Robinson excelled at soccer at the White Plains high school he attended. (See 1980s newspaper account of Marlon Robinson in high school.) Marlon Robinson then played soccer for Duke University (about 1981-84). Someone talked him into filing papers to get U.S. residency and maybe a passport along the way, and this he did, as the laxity of the system allowed him to do so. He returned to England in the late 1980s, soon after the Reagan-era federal bureaucracy handed him a U.S. passport.
Th “passport shopping” just described allowed Marlon Robinson’s later-born son the loophole through which to apply for the youth “U.S. National Team,” an easier task than getting on the England equivalent. Remember, Jedi Robinson has never live in America and has no connection to it except a sojourn by his Jamaican-origin father ten to twenty years before he was born. (“Magic Dirt” in action?)
Jedi Robinson (b.1997)’s grand-total of experience with America, according to the 2020 Sports Illustrated interview, was “a couple of trips” plus lots of watching of “the Disney Channel” in the early-mid 2000s as a young boy.
I would guess Jedi Robinson knows very little about the USA, except what big-money elite soccer has shown him of it, and of course the usual mass-media consumption all such people do.
Racial-national ancestry: White-American.
Long Island, New York origin.
More to file under “multi-generational soccer athletes”: Joe Scalley’s mother, Margaret Peragine, played soccer for an elite youth club team in the 1980s and later played volleyball (and possibly also soccer) at East Stroudsburg University, Pennsylvania. Joe Scally’s father, John Scally, was a star on his high school basketball team (Centereach High School) in 1988-1991 or so, then played college basketball for Concordia College, New York.
Today, John Scally (father of the World Cup-2022 man) co-owns a pub in his town on Long Island, Lake Grove, a town with a huge White majority. (See pic of Joe Scally’s family.) It appears Joe Scally was raised entirely in Long Island and has multi-generational nativity in the New York area. There appears to be both Irish-Catholic and Italian ancestry in his family.
Joe Scally was scooped up by a European soccer club in late 2019 around the time he turned 17, at first on their “farm team” and as of this year with the regular team. As with many others on Team-USA, he entirely “skipped” college and college sports and “went pro,” a track he was already on from some time in his teens when he got fed into the elite club training system.
Racial ancestry: Mixed-race, identifies as Jewish.
Parents: Jewish mother; father, who is serving a life sentence in prison, said to be of at-least-part Dominican Republic origin.
It may be a surprise to learn that DeAndre Yedlin, an exotic-looking man with kinky hair and tattoos covering his chest and neck, identifies as Jewish. (Spot him with green-dyed hair in the middle of the Team-USA-2022 promotional poster).
The Jewish identity comes his mother’s-side influence, and perhaps most of all via encouragement from his Jewish grandparents. His mother is Rebecca Yedlin, born in San Diego in 1974. Her parents were Jewish, with at least her father being specifically of Latvian-Jewish origin.
The story goes that a young Rebecca Yedlin got into “trouble,” likely drug use, in the gloomy early 1990s while a teenager, and linked up with a Black man and known criminal who had some family ties to the Dominican Republic. A mixed-race son was born to this unlikely pair in July 1993, named DeAndre. (In continuing a ‘thematic’ or ‘poetic’ thread-line which I started with the Carter-Vickers entry, I’ll point out that Miss Yedlin will have learned that she was pregnant at about the time Bill Clinton was announced the winner of the U.S. presidency, Nov. 1992…)
Someone writing up DeAndre Yedlin’s wiki page has it that DeAndre Yedlin is half-Jewish, quarter-Subsaharan-Black, quarter-Amerind. I would guess his racial-ancestry may be more like: 50% Jewish; 10% European-Christian, 30% Subsaharan, 10% Amerind.
DeAndre Yedlin was brought up entirely in the Seattle area. His mother, Rebecca Yedlin, has spent most or all her adult life there and when, at eighteen, she had a mixed-race baby she handed the baby off to her father, named in press reports and interviews as Ira Nathan Yedlin (b.1946). Grandpa Yedlin took charge of the mixed-race child while Rebecca sauntered off to pursue other matters. She eventually got her act together such that by 2004 she was a teacher of life-skills to jail inmates, and by 2006 had already upgraded to instructor at South Seattle College, where she eventually taught “business technology and medical office technology at South Seattle College.”
This whole story with DeAndre Yedlin’s mother yields a story rather reminiscent of Barack Obama’s, doesn’t it? There is even an academia-connection in there, thought only on the far side and not in the “teenage liaison with the dark, foreign stranger” part of the story.
Who is DeAndre Yedlin’s father? An investigation by an ESPN reporter in early 2022 determined that DeAndre Yedlin’s father was known by the name Larry Rivers Jr., a violent career criminal seemingly of part-Dominican, part-U.S.-Black origin. In 1993, he was convicted of serious crimes (“charges that included robbery, cocaine distribution and kidnapping”) and then began a heavy prison term (“jailed for life as a repeat offender”). The conviction came down two weeks before DeAndre Yedlin. This man remains in prison as of 2022, indicating they were quite serious about the “life sentence” thing, so far. DeAndre Yedlin has implied in interviews that he has never once visited this man in prison, and in childhood he may not even have known about him.
DeAndre Yedlin has spent most of his career in the English Premier League, which started for him in 2014. He first came to mass public attention in World Cup 2014 on the U.S. team, and might have been back in 2018 but that Team-USA failed to qualify.
DeAndre Yedlin returned to the USA to join the Miami MLS club in 2022, but was still away in 2020 and 2021. During the maoist-tinged Black Lives Matter unrest of 2020, therefore, he was away in England and not liable to pop back in given the freeze on matches ongoing in spring 2020 (unplayed Premier League matches, on hold since the government mandated lockdowns, were resumed in mid-June 2020 and the season concluded). DeAndre Yedlin told the following to a reporter for Soccer America magazine in June 2020, about his and his Jewish grandfather’s views on the controversy:
“A couple days after George Floyd’s death [in late May 2020], my grandfather texted me [in England] and told me he’s glad that I am not living in the U.S. right now because he would fear for my life as a young black man. As days have passed, this text from my grandfather has not been able to leave my mind. He was born in 1946, lived through the civil rights movement, lived through some terribly racist times in U.S. history, and now 70 years later he STILL fears for the life of his black grandchild…”
This is quite the proper script they are reading from and riffing off of. See the entry for Tyler Adams for another example of the same (specifically this part: “In late 2018, Tyler Adams wrote a racial essay…”).
What is the future for people like DeAndre Yedlin in the USA? Some outlines of the future may be revealed his choice of romantic partner, a woman described as “Instagram model Crystal Ann Rodriguez.” She looks very much like a Dominican.
Racial-national ancestry: White-American.
Walker Zimmerman was born and raised in Georgia. His father, David, was long the pastor of Atkinson Road Baptist Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia, on the outskirts of the Atlanta metro area.
As one of the few who have played only for U.S. soccer clubs, Walker Zimmerman’s life, personal and professional (sports), is tied to the USA. This makes him virtually unique among the Team-USA-2022 members. Most teammates are in the well-oiled-machine of big-money European club football, often the Premier League or the German Bundesliga. To these top-tier elite players, to be in the MLS one’s whole career might be seen as being like a “minor-league” baseball player for years on end. On the other hand, he stays rooted and doesn’t drift into outer-space, so to speak.
His MLS team now, at the height of his career, is Nashville (the same as Shaq Moore, of Black-Caribbean origin, profiled above). Nashville is not at all far, by U.S. standards, from the Georgia homeland…
Walker Zimmerman published a personal essay in November 2022 in which he revealed several things about his life and career. He had been offered a position on a Swedish team in about 2015 and decided to go, but it “fell through.” It was all for the best, for he had a high-school-sweetheart, blonde Sally, waiting for him, supporting him, and (as this is the 2010s, of course) pursuing a college degree or two. They married Dec. 31, 2016. His ambition to go into big-money European club soccer faded out with his marriage, though he was not yet 24 at the time, and he is happy with staying in America with the MLS. Call it a vote for rootedness.
A family picture Walker Zimmerman posted to Instagram shows typical-looking, conservative-looking White Americans.
Revelatory of personality or philosophy, Walker Zimmerman’s (seldom-used) twitter profile has a quasi-soccer-themed Bible verse as its profile message. “How beautiful are the feet of the messenger who brings good news” He doesn’t identify it as a Bible verse, but that’s Isaiah 52:7. Yes, count Walker Zimmerman as one of the ethnocultural-core-Americans, on a team somewhat lacking in such.
Of the nine defenders on the roster:
- 4 White-Christians (Long, Ream, Scally, Zimmerman);
- 1 full-Black of foreign origin (Moore [Trinidad & Tobago]);
- 1 multiracial-Jewish (Yedlin)
- 1 Surinamese (Dest)
- 2 multiracial of Black-White origin (Carter-Vickers, Robinson)
— Of the nine defenders’ aggregate ancestry, the share that was resident the USA one century ago is calculated to be: 50-55% [4.5 to 5.0 of 9] (Long, Ream, Scally, Zimmerman, half of Carter-Vickers, possibly 10%-50% of Yedlin).
— Players whose ancestors were all (or nearly all) in the USA one century ago: probably 4 of 9 (Long, Ream, Scally, Zimmerman).
— Players with (at least arguably) weak, dubious, or trivial ties to the USA: 4 of 9 (Carter-Vickers, Dest, Moore, Robinson).
TEAM USA-2022 — MIDFIELDERS
— White-American ancestry at 2.7 / 7
— White-foreign ancestry at 0.6 / 7
— Black-American ancestry at 1.25 / 7
— Black-foreign ancestry at 1.1 / 7
— East Asian ancestry at 0.25 / 7
— Hispanic-Mestizo at 1.0 / 7
— Other/Unknown at 0.1 / 7
— Full-White players: 2 of 7 (Aaronson, De La Torre) —
Racial-national ancestry: White-American.
The surname “Aaronson,” in this case traces to Sweden many generations ago. The Israeli JTA press agency reported in 2021 that while variants of Aaronson are common among Jews, it had determined that soccer player Brenden Aaronson has no Jewish ancestry at all. The loose resemblance to a young Trotsky is coincidental.
Brenden Aaronson’s father, Rusty Aarsonson, played goalie in high school soccer in New Jersey (Pinelands High School, southern New Jersey), not far off from where Brenden Aaronson was later born (2000) raised. Rusty Aaronson also played goalie at the college level at soccer-strong Monmouth University, New Jersey, in the mid-1980s. This soccer pedigree by the elder Aaronson suggests he was good enough to potentially “go pro,” if such a thing were possible in 1980s-USA.
As for Brenden Aaronson’s ethnic ancestry: all available information suggests a multi-generational southern New Jersey family, the origin of both parents. Such a family is likely drawn from a wider net than just Swedish (as the surname) and Swedish-adjacent stock.
Brenden Aaronson’s ancestral surnames on his mother’s side include Evans, DiCanzio, and DiGirolamo. We may assume his father’s-side ancestors are of largely NW-European Protestant origin with potentially many generations of U.S. nativity, if surname is a reliable signal and going by what we know of historical marriage patterns. (See pic of parents Brenden Aaronson in their late twenties.) (See pic of Brenden Aaronson with parents, about 2019.)
In any case, there is a definite degree of rootedness to this family, and that rootedness had continued with Brenden Aaronson himself up to age 21. Brenden “went pro” out of high school but his career was almost entirely tied not only to MLS soccer but to teams in the New Jersey vicinity — especially the Philadelphia Union team, practically making his early career a proxy for college sports whereby a youth goes to the local state college and plays.
In 2021, a club in Austria took him and, having performed well there, in May 2022 the big-money Leeds FC approached him a dumptruck full of cash which the stunned Brenden Aaroson accepted, making him suddenly “the second most expensive American soccer player of all time.” In that list he is quite far behind teammate Christian Pulisic (profiled below), though. Aaronson is in the same salary range in elite European soccer as three Team-USA teammates: Sergino Dest (Surinamese origin) and Tyler Adams (Black-White origin), and Weston McKennie (Black-White origin), each profiled here separately, each drawing huge salaries in European soccer.
Racial-national ancestry: “Exotic Black.” Actually mixed race with a complicated patchwork of racial-national-cultural origins including Black, White, Puerto Rican, and Japanese. See end of this entry for a full-ancestry percentage estimate for Kellyn Acosta.
At a glance, Kellyn Acosta is “Black.” At a close(r) glance, he may be said to be a slightly-exotic-looking Black. Find him in the upper-right of the Team-USA-2022 promotional poster (to the left of yellow-shirted goalie Horvath, profiled above). In contrast to the full-Subsaharan players on the team, including the one just left of Kellyn Acosta, one is tempted to see Acosta’s 25% Japanese-ancestry “showing,” via a compacter head shape and more.
Acosta has Subsaharan ancestry from both his mother’s and father’s sides. He is said to also be part-Puerto Rican, part-Japanese, part-White. The preponderance of recent foreign origins in his tangled family tree make Kellyn Acosta’s ties to the USA potentially ambiguous — but he was born and raised in Texas, a fact alone which puts him ahead of a surprisingly large portion of the rest of the team (See, e.g., Carter-Vickers, Robinson, Musah, among others).
What of the name “Kellyn Acosta”? This name raises a point about the function of surnames (and given names, to different extent). Surnames are alternatively called “family names” because they signal one’s family-origins, at the least signaling the bearer’s paternal ancestry, and thereby signaling also ethnocultural affiliation. A free-for-all in which anything goes, in which anyone can have any name, in which large-scale mixing occurs, it breaks down the entire purpose or usefulness of fixed “family names” as signals of anything much. The name “Kellyn Acosta” is a case of a name becoming arbitrary, signaling little or nothing. The “Acosta” name is not his father’s surname, nor does it point to Latin or Hispanic origins. “Acosta” is the name of the soccer star’s “stepdad, who I consider my grandpa,” Kellyn Acosta has said. Confused? His mother is (now) known as Kanikah Perry-Acosta (see social-media profile pic).
Kellyn Acosta identifies with his Japanese ancestry, and wrote the following about his Japanese grandmother (his father’s mother), published in a special feature in The Players Tribune in May 2022 for somethint called “Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month”:
“People would see the Black soccer kid in the tracksuit walking over to this Asian lady, and then they would go, ‘What’s going on here? This guy’s a mess.’ They would ask me, ‘Is she your nanny?’ I’d say that she was my grandma. ‘But you’re not Asian.’ ‘You don’t look like her’ You’re adopted’…“
The above is describing scenes or memories recalling early-mid 2000s Texas; for, after Kellyn Acosta (b.1995)’s parents divorced, he began spending a lot more time with his Japanese grandmother. “I’d wolf down rice bowls and sushi with wooden chopsticks,” he wrote in his ‘Asian Heritage Month’ essay, the essay boldly entitled “Being Japanese-American.”
Kellyn Acosta credits “Asian discipline” with his soccer success — a dubious claim, but fitting with the portrait he has erected for himself. He secondarily credits the influence of a certain Brazilian he knew in Texas, a former pro soccer player named “Zequinha,” who fast became a sports-mentor for the Black-White-PuertoRican-Japanese boy starting about age 6. Kellyn Acosta looked like this, and wearing the Brazil colors, looking like he does, being into soccer, and being named “Acosta,” he could certainly ‘pass’ for Brazilian (if such a thing has any much meaning) (see current Brazilian player Diogo Acosta).
The full picture of Kellyn Acosta’s complicated family-tree was tough to sort out, and what has come out the other end, in identity terms, is the solid rock that is the 25%-Japanese, the rest a tangle of unclarity albeit with a major Subsaharan component. The USA-2022 man’s mother is said to be part-Puerto Rican. The soccer player also claims to have “some Irish blood in there as well, so it’s kinda crazy” (as he put it). It doesn’t seem that he thinks of himself as “Black” nor any interest in thinking of himself as “Black.”
The picture out of the haze looks possibly like this: his father’s father may have been a Black-American, possibly a U.S. soldier and possibly of mixed-race himself, who took a Japanese wife while stationed in Japan, that being the ‘Asian’ grandmother (father’s mother) who has long lived in Texas and of whom the Team-USA-2022 man is so fond. The mother’s father may be a Black American (judging by mother’s original surname), while the mother’s mother the one of Puerto Rican origin. If this is all about right, varying degrees of Subsahran are delivered along three of the four grandparental lines.
A plausible full racial-ancestry estimate for Kellyn Acosta:
- 35-45% Black-Subsaharan (the lion’s share may be ADOS),
- 25% Japanese,
- 25-35% European (partly Spain, via Puerto Rico; he claims part is also “Irish”), and
- 5% miscellaneous or unclear non-Black non-White, including any Amerind via Puerto Rico.
It is a Tiger Woods-like jumble-up of ancestry, even if the Subsaharan predominates in Kellyn Acosta’s phenotype. It is poetically suitable that he had a Brazilian soccer mentor, for Kellyn Acosta is the a ‘posterchild’ of an ethnocultural process of “brazilianization” with a smiling face.
Racial-national ancestry: Mixed Black-White. Black father (American?), White-American mother. Stepfather, White, is an upstate New York soccer fanatic of relatively recent British ancestry.
Tyler Adams’ mother’s name is Melissa Russo (b.1977). She had a child with a Black man in 1999; that man was soon off the scene, and Tyler Adams has told sports reporters that his ‘biological’ father, whom he declines to not name, is “not in his life.”
Tyler Adams has said that his born-1977 mother made mistakes in her early twenties and ended up with an infant to take care of but without resources, support, a firm income, or stability. In older times this is a seriously bad situation for a woman, and would have given the baby poor prospects (not so long ago, indeed, such a baby was likely not even to survive). Luckily for Tyler Adams, his mom had an uncle who took pity and offered to take in the young woman and the mixed-race, fatherless child.
The boy known as Tyler Adams was raised by his White mother alone up to about age 11. From about age 12, a White stepfather, Darryl Sullivan Sr., was on the scene and provided a solid rock on which the boy built what became a professional soccer career.
Stepfather Darryl Sullivan Sr. was, and is, a great soccer enthusiast of Wappingers Falls, New York. (The town can be said to be either a distant exurb of the New York City metro area, or entirely part of “upstate” New York. The only Team-USA-2022 with firm ties to the immediate New York City area is Joe Scally; see entry above.)
But stepfather Sullivan is of relatively recent British origin. Tyler Adams has said that his “step-grandfather” (the father of Daryl Sullivan Sr.) was born in Scotland and came to the USA as a teenager in 1961. His “step-great-grandfather,” whom he never knew, was an Albert Sullivan (1927-2009) of Scotland, who served in the British Army at the tail-end of WWII. In any case, tracing the ‘genealogy’ of soccer interest and moral-commitment in the Tyler Adams story comes indirectly from the British Isles, by way of stepfather Daryl Sullivan Sr., the son of a ‘true’ Scotsman.
Tyler Adams has written the following about his mother’s relationship with the supportive soccer fanatic who became Tyler Adams’ stepfather:
“[A classmate in seventh grade told me:] ‘My dad has mentioned you before. He said you’re a good soccer player. I’m going to try out for the soccer team in middle school too,’ he said.
Not long after [he] and I started playing on the team together he came up to me one day and was like, ‘I think our parents are talking.’
We were at a tournament that weekend and he was right. Our parents were talking. They spent almost the entire day next to each other, talking, having coffee. A week later his dad invited my mom and me over to their house for dinner. It was there that [the other boy] introduced me to his brothers, who are now our brothers.
I look back now and I think that’s the moment, eating dinner at their house, that everything changed. It wasn’t just my mom and me against the world anymore. Now we were part of a family.”
Tyler Adams says his soccer interest began from earlier childhood (“I’d sit in front of our TV and watch Thierry Henry score goal after goal for Arsenal at 6 a.m. on FOX Soccer Report”), but clearly this linke-up with the White stepfather, in about 2011, was decisive for Tyler Adams (b.1999). The mother and stepfather’s relationship was ‘mixed’ with soccer from the very start, to believe Tyler Adams’ account.
The few years after the ca.2011 initial entrée into the Sullivan family were crucial in turning a strong youth talent into a potential “world top-tier elite,” and it was Daryl Sullivan provided the support and guidance necessary. See family pic of Tyler Adams with step-family.
By 2018 (at age 19), Tyler Adams was in the USA-Soccer machine and was promoted by USA-Soccer as a rising star, though few paid attention when the USA failed to qualify for World Cup 2018.
By not later than 2020 (though perhaps to an extent all along), Tyler Adams’ skill and success had “gone to his head.” When big-money interests show up to dump millions of dollars on a boy, it’s always possible to get corrupted. Accounts suggest Tyler Adams developed a case of prima-donna-ism, complaining, throwing fits, blaming others for mistakes, and getting away with it because he was skillful enough to attract grovelers. His older teammate Aaron Long, who has no elite soccer background, has publicly slammed Tyler Adams for this behavior (see Aaron Long entry above).
The prima-donna-ism may in part be because Tyler Adams is today one of the highest-paid soccer players to ever come out of the USA (paid, that is, by the rich European soccer clubs), along with Team-USA teammates Christian Pulisic, Aaronson, Dest, McKennie. The big-money actors have airdropped serious money on these men, Pulisic most of all. The big-money interests aren’t likely to be too wrong too often — because they are, in effect, making large bets on players when they dump cash on them of such scale as to be able to fund major insurgencies in Africa.
I would suggest the possibility of more to the ‘entitled’ attitude than just that which comes from sports talent and the involvement of the money-men and lots of zeroes in digital bank-accounts.
I previously quoted from Tyler Adams’ personal-origins essay, which he wrote in 2018 (at age 19) (and in certain respects similar to Kellyn Acosta’s essay on his racial origins; see above, Kellyn Acosta entry). It is actually more of a “racial” essay, and starts with these words:
“…’Tyler … is that your … brother?’ I get that one a lot. If you saw me with my family, you’d think I was adopted. All of them are white, and I’m black. … As far as how he became my brother, that’s a longer story. Some people might even call it a good one.”
This is a recognizable example of the “grievance essay” genre, quite common and easy to find in our time in the USA, seen in innumerable college-entry essays, job-application cover-letters, journalistic puff-pieces, or the like, over the past twenty or thirty years. Any b.1990s boy in regular contact with American culture knows by instinct that this kind of essay is a key to success, in a way that someone steeped in the mores and doctrines of some religion knows the proper creeds and prayers and arguments in defense of disputable doctrinal points.
The ‘plot’ outline in this “grievance essay” genre: witness someone scurrying up the moral high ground, planting a ‘victimization’ flag emblazoned with his own visage on it, then, in a strangely pleasant haze, puffing his chest about how moral and righteous he is for it all. The purpose of the exercise is to demonstrate the moral superiority of the author (if autobiographical, and often even if not) against the unnamed Enemy. A famous instance of the same phenomenon was Barack Obama’s own autobiography, which he subtitled “A story of race and inheritance.” A twist to the genre is that Tyler Adams’ “story of race and inheritance” includes a White-savior plot in which the stable White adoptive father saves the day, but facts are facts.
We can gleam from Tyler Adams’ personal-origins essay that Tyler Adams has properly absorbed “America ideology” as we would now recognize it, or at the least that he knows how to skillfully spout it off: in the essay, he praises his mother for going “back to school” and getting a college degree in the late 2000s, which makes her a Strong Woman.
See this pull-quote and photo of mom and Tyler Adams in boyhood juxtaposed with the info on the mother getting a college degree, which would have been finished shortly before this Christmas photo was taken:
This kind of essay-writing is now an “American tradition,” and though some of us would prefer it not be true, the b.1999 Tyler Adams is more in the “mainstream” than not, under this system, even if it is all distasteful, self-serving, and the process is liable to shock and outrage a mainstream American from one century ago. The framing, the delivery, the way such essays are reverentially treated by both ‘producer’ and ‘consumer,’ are not random nor natural, but follow from cultural-political conditions, guided by the hegemonic ideology. The “discourse analysis” that emerged in academia in the late 20th century would help us here, but it’s far too far afield for present purposes. Seeing “ideology” trickle down to the level of some sports player’s choice of personal-essay material is is of interest.
(Compare the Tyler Adams racial essay with the long personal essay published in November 2022 by Walker Zimmerman, Team-USA teammate of full-NW-European-origin. Zimmerman’s essay mentions nothing about his own [White] racial origins in the U.S. state of Georgia. See Walker Zimmerman entry above.)
Tyler Adams counts as “half-White, half-Black” in a racial-ancestry sense, but benefitted hugely from the stability and support of the White ‘step’-family, without which he would not likely be in elite sports of any kind. What does one make of his alleged ‘entitled’ attitude, though, his yelling at fellow players and coaches and blaming others for mistakes?
LUCA DE LA TORRE
Racial-national ancestry: full-White-European, father from Spain, mother a White-American.
Luca De La Torre was born and raised in Southern California. Knowing only the geography and the name, one would guess Latin America ties, and if so would be wrong.
Luca De La Torre has zero connection to Latin America and no “mestizo” ancestry. His father is from Spain and his mother is an American with a Scandinavian surname.
Another surprise is that both parents hold PhDs. See: pic of mother, a PhD biologist working in stem cells and co-holder of four patents. See: pic of father, PhD in Spain, 1985. He is who is with the “Department of Immunology and Microbiology, Scripps Research Institute, San Diego.”
Luca De La Torre’s mother is Anne Bang (b.1963; BS in Biology, Stanford, 1985; PhD in Biology, University of California–San Diego, 1994). She declined to change her surname on marriage in the 1990s, relatively early in the trend of Western women breaking with custom and declining to change their names upon marriage. She must have felt she could not change her name given that she was knee-deep in elite-academia by the time the issue came up in about the mid-1990s. Her first co-published scientific paper already coming out in 1986 at age 25, entitled “The watermelon mitochondrial URF-1 gene.”
His father’s background (Spain) may be from whence the current soccer star Luca De La Torre (b.1998) drew an interest in the sport as a boy in the 2000s, and it will have helped that Spain won the World Cup in 2010, soon after Luca De La Torre turned twelve down in San Diego. There is no doubt that he and his dad were watching, and in our anodyne age, the thrill of combat and conquest are generally filtered through the proxy of sports.
The academic-elite family background makes Luca De La Torre rather an outlier on the Team-USA-2022 squad, but the young man himself has shown no comparable interest in academia whatsoever. He attended no elite high school and didn’t bother with college. Perhaps he could have gone to Stanford (as his mother did) and been a legendary member of the Stanford soccer team. USA-2022 teammate Jordan Morris did just that at Stanford from 2012-2016 (see Jordan Morris entry). Luca De La Torre decided against college, as the elite-big-money interests from Europe had already showed up with their cases full of cash and their warm and intoxicating promises of making it big for sure, if he would just come with them please.
Luca De La Torre’s elite soccer success begins already at ages 13-15 (early 2010s), at which time he was a standout on ‘pro’ youth teams in Southern California. About this time, circa 2013, elite-soccer scouts from England, on the hunt across the North American continent for prospects, placed a bet on the adolescent. They brought in their smooth-talk experts to by the first wave to soften up, while the men with the trunkloads full of cash were the second line of assault. The operation succeeded in getting the PhD parents to send their boy off to England to join the youth-development program of Fulham, a club in the prestigious English Premier League. They agreed; Luca De La Torre spent three years in the big-money English football club system being sculpted into a pro athlete; by age eighteen, he was playing for Fulham in regular games.
Luca De La Torre is now with a Spanish club, Celta, one of the best in Spain. A 2022 Reddit thread in r/USSoccer criticizes Luca De La Torre for being unable to speak Spanish. It is unclear if he understand much of any Spanish. But, then, he never spent time around Spanish-speakers — until arriving in Spain in 2020 (age 22), to receive more millions of Euros and/or dollars to play soccer. A lone Reddit-user digitally stands up to defend De La Torre, insisting the Spanish-surnamed Team-USA-2022 member “understands Spanish a little” after all. (See also: entry for Gio Reyna, who also has very poor Spanish; and entry for Cristian Roldan, of Los Angeles, who does speak Spanish.)
As for his ancestry, on the basis of physical-anthropology: Luca De La Torre’s father appears to me to be of the “Dinaricized Mediterranean” anthropological type, which, combined with the mother’s Borreby-like phenotype, produces a rather pan-European look in the soccer player.
Sometimes names have a delightful way of aligning to personality. “De La Torre” means “of the goal” in a liberal intermingling of German and Spanish (G. Tor, goal), similar to the striker’s own heritage, a coincidental “occupational surname.”
Is Luca De La Torre “Hispanic”? This depends on your chosen definition of that term. “Hispanic” is a term with little definite meaning, as elastic as a speaker wants it to be for their immediate purposes. Objectively, judged neutrally, the case is not strong that Luca De La Torre should be called “Hispanic” in the U.S. common sense of the term, his name notwithstanding. Luca De La Torre is 100%- White-European by ancestry, has never lived in a ‘Hispanic’-dominant cultural environment, has minimal connection to any ‘Spanish’ culture, and does not speak Spanish.
Racial ancestry: half-Black, half-White; father a Black-American.
Weston McKennie’s Black father, John McKennie, was a career U.S. military officer. A family photo from 2018 shows John McKennie is of typical Black-American (West African) appearance, with darker skin-tone than average.
The mother, Tina McKennie, is White (see pic of Weston McKennie’s mother). It does not seem the parents are still married.
The father, who started with the Army, switched branches to the U.S. Air Force in the early 2000s and was slated for a long posting abroad. It turned out to be Germany. The wife and children went with him. This was about 2005.
Weston McKennie claims that he became captivated by the game of soccer while in Germany in the three boyhood years he spent in Germany, about 2005-2008.
Weston McKennie’s boyhood sojourn as a U.S. military dependent in Germany included the sensational 2006 World Cup, which was hosted in Germany. Always strong performers in international soccer, Germany did well in 2006 and nearly won the tournament. The excellent performance by the then-nearly-all-White German national team inspired a wave of patriotic-like feeling seldom seen in Germany, with commentators expressing mixed feelings at excessive displays of German patriotism (which is otherwise semi-banned, or at least outside cultural norms for the system run by the “Federal Republic of Germany”). This led to talk, at the time, of Fussballpatriotismus [soccer-patriotism] as a form of ‘acceptable’ German patriotism, along with a twin called Wirtschaftspatriotismus [economy-patriotism].
To Weston McKennie, then of elementary-school-age and not at all versed in the politics of narrative-policing in German/European politics, none of political-tinged talk in 2006 broke through, about a risk of soccer-nationalism somehow morphing into a firm civic-nationalism or an ethnonationalism (which, a decade later, the AfD would finally introduce to mainstream German politics after the Merkel Migrant Crisis). All Weston McKennie will have taken in about the spectacle was how invigorating, exciting, and inspiring it was. The power of soccer, its defenders and fans are known to say — and which a boy raised entirely in the USA or Canada is likely to miss — is that it is not just a game. It is more like a social phenomenon. Weston McKennie was about to turn age 8 when World Cup 2006 Germany happened.
When Weston McKennie got back to the USA in about early 2008, he insisted on playing soccer and not American ‘pigskin’ football. By 2017, he was an elite soccer athlete. A German club (Schalke 04) recruited him. He spent four years with Schalke 04 until transfer to an elite Italian club in 2021.
I cannot determine with certainty if Weston McKennie’s Black ancestry is fully of U.S. origin (ADOS) or if it includes any of recent foreign origin. His given middle names (full name: Weston James Earl McKennie) suggest full U.S. origin to me. If his Black ancestry is entirely of U.S. origin, he is in the distinct minority. Black teammates like Shaq Moore (Trinidad & Tobago ancestry), Yunus Musah (Ghana), Tim Weah (Liberia, Jamaica), and Haji Wright (Liberia, Ghana), and Sean Johnson (Jamaica) are all without ties to U.S. Blacks.
Weston McKennie’s father is of that subgroup of Black Americans who “do very well” by the institution that is the U.S. military. (These are men who get selected in the semi-rigorous process of U.S. military screening, which in some ways resembles a college entrance system. Only a minority of Blacks fulfill the necessary requirements and score well enough on the exams.) A considerable portion of Black men who have successful military careers take White wives or foreign wives met during foreign deployments. (See also the case of Kellyn Acosta’s paternal grandparents, or how he got a Japanese grandmother).
Mainstream, respectable U.S. conservatives today often celebrate this phenomenon of successful Black military men. The tone employed is reverential, implying that it is a great social success, and as a sign of the greatness of the U.S. military (something like that), including when said Black military officers take White wives. Certainly no semi-mainstream voice would be heard today expressing anything but enthusiasm. This is a noticeable change in U.S. culture. Previous generations of Americans, up to the mid-20th century or even late-20th century, would have been wary of it or outright opposed it — if cultural-political conditions allowed.
I go into these semi-tangents because the key to understanding the soccer star Weston McKennie’s ancestry and identity is not just that he is x-percent Subsahran, x-percent White-European; it is not just that he has a Black father and a White mother; it is that he is of mixed-race and U.S. military origin. This is likely an important shaper of his identity, and understanding Weston McKennie in this way also helps us to place him into an generalizable archetype of one observable type in the chaotic USA.
In 2001, a John McKennie was named in a news report as a U.S. Army sergeant who had co-filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against a nightclub in Des Moines, Iowa. This John McKennie is almost certainly the World-Cup-2022 man’s father, as he who matches the soccer player’s father’s age and appearance. John McKennie and another Black soldier said they had been denied entry into the bar by White bouncers for racial reasons and were outraged (“Bar the target of new complaint,” Des Moines Register, Feb. 17, 2001).
Today, Weston McKennie’s father, the Air Force officer, apparently runs a twitter account, @Airborne69. Recent activity on this Twitter feed includes retweets promoting his son’s soccer career and others promoting Black military heroes.
A February 2018 promotional video and writeup from Schalke 04, which Weston McKennie played for at the time. They boast of a successful fan event held that month in Houston which turned out hundreds of soccer fans, including “Weston McKennie’s mom,” whom the club highlighted and showed cheering on video. She had showed up alone and cheered loyally. There is assuredly really big money in these things, and there is also a political component. The fan-event in Houston I just refer to was “sponsored” by the German consulate and German-American Chamber of Commerce in Houston!
When the “racial reckoning year” 2020 came around, Weston McKennie volunteered his time and image for the cause. Sports Illustrated wrote of how he was speaking out about “his personal experience with racism and social injustice.” The writer spent a few hundred words about how one drunken fan on an opposing team had supposedly called Weston McKennie a “s**t ape” during a match.
“McKennie doesn’t really feel privileged anywhere [as an elite athlete] anymore—not on the field, nor back in the U.S. There are potential problems over every fence, reminders that even if he’s accomplished—even though he’s a pro—he still might be unwelcome.”
That was in August 2019. On Saturday, May 30, 2020, as the peak of the “Gorge Floyd riots” were fast spreading (following ten weeks of ‘lockdowns’ over a flu virus), Weston McKennie put on a black Justice For George Floyd armband for the match that day, and called on people to “stand up” against White racism. He received much media praise for this act, which was depicted as brave and daring. When McKennie was traded to an Italian club, Juventus, in late 2020, he said how glad he was to be able to break down “barriers.”
Racial ancestry: Black, foreign origin — Ghana. Muslim.
Yunus Musah was an “anchor baby.” He was born in November 2002, in New York City, to a late-term pregnant Ghanainan mother who had recently entered the USA on a tourist visa. The mother was on a “passport shopping” trip, strategic citizenship acquisition, through the loophole of having a baby born on U.S. soil.
The “passport shopping” engaged in by Yunus Musah’s mother is something done by millions of foreign women over the years, and for some reason this act of fraud is allowed.
That act of passport-shopping strategic birthing by a foreign African woman in 2002 is Yunus Musah’s only evident connection to the USA that I can determine — except for his involvement with the soccer “national team” (as a “native-born U.S. citizen”!)
This origin story makes Yunus Musah among the least-connected-to-the-USA of the entire squad. He has no USA life experience excluding that connected to elite soccer; he has not a thread of USA-ancestry or residence. That this is allowed cheapens the value of citizenship; the only way it makes sense at all is for the contingent of universalists who believe the USA is just a flophouse for whoever. “Birth-tourists and passport-shoppers welcome!”
After the successful passport-shopping birthing pulled off by the Ghanaian mother in 2002, the parents managed to raise Yunus Musah in England and some in Italy. The father, Ibrahim Musah (b.1970s?) had been an illegal immigrant in Italy in the 1990s (as implied by a sports journalist’s 2022 account of the family). Ibrahim Musah eventually somehow gained residency rights under some squishy government policy or other. Why was a Ghanaian named Ibrahim Musah Italy in the 1990s? “For a better life,” says a sports journalist who profiled the Musah family in November 2022. Right…
As might be guessed by the given-name “Yunus,” accounts agree that Yunus Musah is definitely a Muslim, or at the least of Muslim family origin. Ghana as a country had been described as 60% firm-Christian, 25-30% animinist, <15% Muslim in the late 20th century but is now over one-fifth Muslim and rising by the year (birthrates matter!).
Here is an account of the Musah family in Italy in the 2000s — “Amina” is the name of the soccer player Yunus Musah’s mother:
“Amina ran a local shop, Amina & Co, in Castelfranco Veneto, which offered Ghanaian food and cooking essentials. The shop was warm. Vibrant. Bustling. Other Ghanaian neighbors would gather there and talk for hours, many speaking Hausa. Little Yunus would just listen. “I learned the language even better,” he says.
Their household valued hard work, kindness, and putting God first. They were deeply devoted to the Islamic faith. Yunus especially enjoyed his mom’s cooking to break the Ramadan fast at sunset. He was amazed to see so many Ghanaian people in his mom’s shop; so many who shared his culture in one place. A place where he could feel comforted. Supported.”
In case you were confused by that, the shop referred to is indeed in Italy, not Ghana. This Yunus Musah case has all kinds of implications for the immigration debate in Italy, though liberal-immigration-policy advocates and the perennial Refugees Welcome boosters like to use high-profile sports stars to prop up their cause.
But by even sympathetic account, Yunus Musah and family are not really tied to Italy (though follow-on African migrants following the “script” in coming decades in this century could subsume Italy and other European countries all the same). A wiki page editor noted that Yunus Musah was “eligible” to play for the national teams of four countries: Ghana, the USA, England, and Italy, through the lax criteria of qualification, the laxest of all being his no-existent ties to the USA. He went with the USA because its national youth team program had “scouted” him and someone dug up the golden-nugget that his mom, Amina, had done the birth-tourism passport-grab.
Team-USA’s youth program got the African Muslim of Italy started with international play, and so he’s just stayed on with them. There’s no reason he couldn’t later switch to Ghana (or England, or Italy, per the rules), for he has no non-soccer ties to the USA at all.
Yunus Musah likely knows little about America beyond what he has absorbed from the world of elite soccer and those people who gravitate around it, and of course through osmosis by Hollywood and the media, etc. Like Weston McKennie, you can be sure he was a supporter of the George Floyd protests of 2020.
Given the smorgasbord of quasi-nationalities attached for some reason to this Yunush Musah, inside-soccer followers spent time speculating on which country’s “national team” he would choose to be part of in international-soccer. Yunus Musah consulted with experts and perhaps with various tea-leaves or maybe the old-hometown imam (f that’s his thing), in late 2020 and early 2021 and “announced” for the USA (March 15, 2021), an “announcement” indeed that sounds like declaring for a club team, grinning for cameras while huge sacks of cash are exchanged out of the limelight — much like it was a few months earlier in late 2020 when he “announced” for Spain’s Valencia Football Club (see pic).
Yunus Musah’s Ghanaian origin gives him a national-ancestry tie to teammate Haji Wright, a half-Liberian and half-Ghanaian.
Racial ancestry: Hispanic-Mestizo, Central American origin.
Cristian Roldan’s personal origin is in Los Angeles County in the 1990s and 2000s (b.1995). His family origins are in Guatemala and El Salvador.
Cristian Roldan’s father is a mestizo from Guatemala who arrived in the USA in unclear circumstances in 1982. He later married a Salvadorean woman who had arrived about the same time (see the U.S. soccer interview with the player in 2018).
Cristian Roldan’s father’s native Guatemala has famously many “indios.” The “mestizos” there, implicitly proud of their partial European heritage, traditionally look down on the “indios” and view them even as a kind of troublesome foreign element (ironically) in the body-politic, a kind of problem to be managed — in part because many of the “indios” doggedly stick to their Amerind languages and their Spanish is often weak and they desire to be apart. This element of Guatemalan ethno-class-sociopolitics is unlikely to survive contact with the chaotic-USA and California, a land of lowest-common-denominators in more ways than one. At the other end of the tunnel, the mestizo Cristian Roldan likely simply sees himself as a “Hispanic.”
Cristian Roldan attended El Rancho High School in Pico Rivera, Los Angeles County. He graduated in 2013, and his life has been primarily about soccer since that time. This high school is listed today at: 97% Hispanic, 1% White, 1% Asian, <1% Black; it was about the same in the early 2010s when Cristian Roldan was there and had been so for a few decades running, but it was not always so.
El Rancho High School school opened its doors in September 1952 and had a large White majority in its early years, and a White majority for its first fifteen to twenty years. A late-1950s list of students who had won academic awards at the school that year included 37 names, of which only three have Spanish surnames. Being that Pico Rivera was near “East LA” (the area that became famous for its Mexican majority), and immigration policy being what it was, together meant the area would likely tip over into a Mexican majority. That is what happened, the process rolling along by the late 1960s, “the center could not hold” of White-suburb established in the 1940s-1950s. (See also: “Who Lost California?“).
So Cristian Roldan’s hometown of Pico Rivera was a case of full population-replacement in the later half of the 20th century, from a minimal presence of “Hispanics” in the founding period, to a minimal presence of anyone but Hispanics. This had all happened long before Cristian Roldan was born (b.1995). In the early 1970s, a Los Angeles Times journalist pondered the future of Pico Rivera and how to soothe White-Mexican relations there, which he depicted as troubled, given “complaints of harassment and mistreatment of Mexican-Americans by sheriff deputies.” That year, the Pico Rivera municipal government hired a White “community relations officer” to smooth over government-police-Mexican and White-Mexican relations (“Ex-Police Chief in new ‘peace officer’ role,” by Keith Takahashi, Los Angeles Times, June 22, 1972). Flash-forward just ten or fifteen years from then, and continuing arrivals from Mexico had, in effect, displaced the remaining Whites in Pico Rivera.
The 1990 census in Pico Rivera: 82.5% Hispanic [almost 19/20ths of which, at the time, was Mexican]; the 2020 census: 90.5% Hispanic, with non-Hispanic Whites at 4.8%. There were virtually no White children in the public schools.
Cristian Roldan’s ethnocultural origins, anyway, are clear enough, being that he is a quite typical Hispanic-Mestizo of Central American origin. (See pic of Cristian Roldan with parents and other fans, all Hispanic.)
Cristian Roldan himself speaks Spanish fluently, at least in the way the language is functionally used in his community. He is evidently not in good practice using ‘proper’ Spanish in the way a proper or educated man from Central America itself would, to say nothing of those European-Spaniards inclined to defensive about pure Castilian-Spanish, for they would look down on Cristian Roldan upon hearing him speak Spanish, for linguistic reasons if no other reason.
In a brief interview with Univision this year, Cristian Roldan can be seen speaking Spanish slowly and deliberately, and using ‘Spanglish’ terms. He says “chansa” for “chance” — as in, “I knew I had a good chance of making the team.” But “chansa” is not a true Spanish word. It is a typical ‘Spanglish’ construction, typical of how culturally-hegemonic languages distort other languages with which they come into contact. Alternatively we can see that when Cristian Roldan speaks in English, he uses a bland accent he has learned in part from the world of elite sports, and he is well-practiced with this which must have started as “code-switching,” of which a practiced eye and ear can pick up clues in specific cases. He is probably plenty comfortable with both English than Spanish, but when needing to speak “proper,” he clearly prefers English, reflective of life experience.
I stated elsewhere here that neither fellow Team-USA-2022 players Luca De La Torre nor Gio Reyna are “Hispanic” under a fair or meaningful definition. This does not apply to Cristian Roldan. Cristian Roldan is, assuredly, a true-blue Hispanic as the term is understood in the USA.
Cristian Roldan is, curiously, one of only two unambiguous “Hispanic” players on Team-USA. The lack of Hispanic players on Team-USA-2022 has gained attention at The Guardian (“US Latinos are soccer-mad. Why isn’t that reflected in the World Cup squad?” by Ramon Antonio Vargas, The Guardian, Nov. 15, 2022).
Migration policy has led the USA to have a resident population as of the early 2020s at 20% “Hispanic,” several points higher still among the relevant age-category, but we have to dig deep to find examples of “Hispanic” connections on the Team-USA squad, our search only coming up with two unambiguous players (of 26 on the roster): Roldan and Ferreira. And Ferreira is a foreigner solely brought in for soccer, leaving us only with Roldan as U.S.-native Hispanic, 1 of 26 on the roster! The puzzle is that the game of soccer is much more popular among Hispanics than other groups in the USA. Might we not well expect a team even half-‘Hispanic’ (by which we primarily mean Latin American Mestizo)?
Cristian Roldan is a product of the USA in a geographic sense. His ties to an organic “non-Hispanic” U.S. culture while growing up were perhaps tenuous, but, like some of the others on Team-USA-2022, he has been marinated in the world of high-level soccer for years and has fully adjusted to it.
In 2013, the University of Washington recruited Roldan and he became a star player for the college soccer team. After college, he stuck around Seattle and has played many seasons with the Seattle Sounders of the MLS soccer league. He now has years’ exposure to a world of elite sports.
Summary, Team-USA-2022 Midfielders
Of the 7 midfielders on the Team USA 2022 roster:
- 2 are White-Christians (Aaronson, De La Torre);
- 1 is full-Black (Musah [foreign origin]);
- 2 are part-Black, part-White (Adams, McKennie),
- 1 is a multiracial-‘exotic’-Black with Japanese ancestry (Acosta),
- 1 is a Hispanic-Mestizo (Roldan).
— Of the 7 midfielders’ aggregate ancestry, the share that was resident the USA one century ago is calculated to be 40-50% (all of Aaronson’s, half of De La Torre’s, half of Adams'[?], half or all of McKennie’s, some of Acosta’s).
— Players whose families were entirely in the USA one century ago: 3? of 7 (Aaronson, Adams?, McKennie).
— Players with (at least arguably) weak, dubious, or trivial ties to the USA: 2 of 7 (Acosta, Musah).
TEAM USA-2022 — FORWARDS
— White-American ancestry at 3.25 / 7
— White-foreign ancestry at 0.4 / 7
— Black-American ancestry at 0 / 7
— Black-foreign ancestry at 2.0 / 7
— Hispanic-Mestizo at 1 / 7
— Middle East ancestry at 0.25 / 7
— Other/Unknown at 0.1 / 7
— Full-White players: up to 4 of 7 (Pulisic, Sargent, and Reyna [with possible minor Amerind], Morris [with partial Middle East]) —
Racial-national origin: Hispanic-Mestizo, very recent personal origins in Colombia.
Jesus Ferreira was born in 2000 in the South American country of Colombia to a professional soccer player father, David Ferreira. (See pic of father.) The father was on the Colombian national team in the 2000s. Jesus Ferreira, therefore, grew up watching his father’s own career.
This Ferreira family had no connection whatsoever to the USA before a soccer scout from the Dallas MLS team began talking to David Ferreira (the father of the World Cup man) in about late 2009 about possibly playing for Dallas. He agreed.
By early 2010, a contract to play for the MLS team FC Dallas in hand, the family made its first-ever contact with the USA. Things went great, as FC Dallas finished the season ranked 2nd in the league, and they kept David Ferreira on two more seasons, then he moved onto other teams.
While in Dallas between 2010 and 2013, the father got his son Jesus (the World Cup-2022 man) involved in the FC Dallas youth-system. Having been inserted into the FC Dallas machine, there he has remained–and there he still remains as of late 2022. Jesus Ferreira has been regularly playing in MLS league games for FC Dallas since 2019.
We can see that Jesus Ferreira’s connection to the USA as a country is 100%-entirely due to elite-soccer. The ‘instrumental’ switch of citizenships is a story shared with many on the team. U.S. citizenship would (among other benefits) assure that Jesus Ferreira could play for the USA internationally, and so the application process began. The USA handed Jesus Ferreira a bright-‘n’-shiny citizenship token in December 2019, guaranteeing his ability to be inserted into the “U.S. National Team” the very next year!
As for racial ancestry, we see in Jesus Ferreira the typical elements of the Colombian general population: a mixture of Amerind, Subsaharan, and European. Jesus Ferreira’s father (see pic) leans more towards the category once known as “zambo“; his mother leans more towards the classic mestizo: (See pic of Jesus Ferreira’s mother with eldest son Jesus and two younger brothers.
For present purposes it is most appropriate to classify Jesus Ferreira as “Hispanic–Mestizo.” He is one of only two unambiguous Hispanics on the team, the other being Cristian Roldan.
Racial-national origin: White. Up to half NW-European, one-quarter Portuguese (U.S. arrival, 1910s); one-quarter Middle East ancestry (Iran; U.S. arrival, 1950).
Jordan Morris attended Stanford from 2012-2016 and excelled on the soccer team. He then made his professional debut back with the Seattle Sounders in 2016.
In terms of personal geographic origin, he is from Mercer Island, an elite part of the Seattle metro area.
On Mercer Island: it is today heavily Jewish (20%+) and East Asian (20%), with a 40-45% White-Christian population share (down from a very high number in living memory, once roundable to 100%). The island’s population has 5-10% reporting mixed race, presumably mostly White–East Asian “Hapas,” who outnumber Hispanics and other miscellaneous groups on the island.
The demographic trendline evident in the 2000s to early 2020s points bright-and-clear towards Mercer Island “going the way” of any number of Vancouver suburbs, not far to the north, went some decades ago (and the Vancouver metro area now stands at the cusp of ‘having ‘tipping’ toward a population at 40%-East Asian, 39%-White-European-Christian population).
Jordan Morris’ hometown of Mercer Island, too, is on track to have an East Asian majority by the mid-21st century — especially if defined as part- or full-East Asian. (The community is far enough from the urban-core of downtown Seattle to avoid the homeless drug encampments and all, if that feature of Seattle culture persists.) This is not a new trend; see “Proud to be Mixed,” Seattle Times guest column, April 2003, by a then-young [b.1982] “Hapa” author who had grown up on Mercer Island.
Jordan Morris’ slightly exotic look might incline some to suspect he, too, may be drawn from that aforementioned ‘rising’ “Hapa” or White–East Asian population. See the contrast in, e.g., head shape between Jordan Morris and other White players in the Team-USA group promotional photo (Jordan Morris is back row, third from leftmost).
In fact, Jordan Morris is basically drawn from the “legacy” population of White-Christians, without family no ties to that rising East Asian tide. (The only player with any known East Asian ancestry is Kellyn Acosta.) Given that Jordan Morris’ married a full-NW-European woman named Eliza Blanchette, he is not part of any East Asian tide by choice or personal circumstance, either. The traditional-seeming Jordan Morris — Eliza Blanchette pairing, while frankly increasingly rare in general society among their (b.1990s) generation, is common among pro soccer players. A reason: the resources and status offered by a successful pro athlete recreate conditions of an earlier era — in other words, it is very clear to the woman she is marrying up.
On Jordan Morris’ personal ancestry: estimated to be 50% NW-European, 25%-Portuguese, 25%-Midlde East via Iran.
Jordan Morris’ mother was born Leslie Garmanian. See pic of parents in 1989 (their son, the elite soccer player, was b.1994). The soccer player’s maternal grandfather, known as George Garmanian (1928-2001), was an Iranian. He came to America in the year 1950 to study engineering along with a brother, Jerry Garmanian. The Garmanian brothers were pro table-tennis players back in Iran, George the better of the two, as he won and held the national table-tennis championship in Iran before leaving in 1950. George Garmanian then played college-level table-tennis in the USA, but soon settled into a serious career as an engineer. He spent thirty years at Boeing, involved with “space and missile programs” according to his obituary. George Garmanian continued competing in pro table-tennis into the early 1960s at least — he was a finalist in a regional tournament in 1960 (“Portlander wins table-tennis title,” Seattle Times, Jan. 18, 1960).
Along the way, about 1952, he married a White-American woman of Kansas–Methodist origin, whom he presumably met at college. The woman was born Martha Moyer (1936-), the daughter of a farmer of sharp mind but limited means — rather the type of man from which an old Left drew its strength and inspiration, seeing itself as advocating on such men’s behalf. The daughter, one of about nine children in rural western Kansas (Grant County), was swept up in an early phase of the approaching Big Sort, as she was scooped up into college, which may be where she met the engineering student or recent graduate George Garmanian, who showed no interest in any return to Iran. Their daughter, Leslie, the World-Cup-2022 player’s mother, was born about 1963 and in the 1980s studied nursing in Seattle, which is where she, in turn, presumably met the World-Cup man’s father, Michael E. Morris, then an early-career sports medicine doctor.
The former Martha Moyer of Kansas, Mrs. Garmanian by the early 1960s and ever since, ended up herself also working for Boeing as a “personnel representative.” For a time, she worked to recruit ‘AI’ machine-learning specialists (featured in Computerworld magazine, issue Nov. 23, 1987). The Boeing ties kept the family tied to the Seattle area, which has continued up to the present among descendants, and Jordan Morris himself is a product of Seattle to the degree that had he grown up in his grandmother’s ancestral land of western Kansas he is unlikely to have been.
Jordan Morris’ father Michael Morris (b.1953) became established in the field of Sports Medicine in the 1980s in the Seattle area. He did well for himself and his family. Though it is unclear to what extent Michael Morris was himself an athlete, we find in his career another definite connection to the world of ‘pro’ sports, which a majority of the Team-USA-2022 members seem to have.
Michael Morris is a descendant of a Portuguese man who in America went by the name Abel Morris (1898-1974). This Abel Morris is the great-grandfather of the Team-USA-2022 man Jordan Morris. The immigrant ancestor Abel Morris arrived in America in the late 1910s and as of the 1920 census was already using the name “Morris.” He took to farming in the area of Ripon, San Joaquin Valley, California. Abel Morris told the 1940 census taker that he had completed only the equivalent of second grade back in Portugal (implying schooling to age about eight), and his entire life was spent in humble circumstances. He also took no initiative in acquiring U.S. citizenship, as Abel Morris was still a foreign citizen as of 1940 (census), nearly 25 years after his arrival. His wife, Lucy, was born in California about 1905 to Portuguese parents. They spoke Portuguese at home (per Census 1930). Their son married a woman whose maiden name was Myers, Jordan Morris’ grandmother.
The success of descendants of these Portuguese “Morrises” (whatever the original Portuguese name) is a classic case of scooping-up easy human capital gains from people whose families had been without access to good opportunities. (Older people still believe this to be a universal or universalizable principle; toss any migrants into thee USA and good things will happen by magic, somehow, because it seems to have happened a half century ago or one century ago or whenever in such-and-such cases, even to their own families. So goes the thinkin, and one can understand why.)
Jordan Morris’ father’s successful practice of sports medicine directly entwined with his son’s rising soccer career in the 2010s, when the father became team doctor with the Seattle Sounders MLS team. His son, the World-Cup-2022 man, had been in the Seattle Sounders’ youth system at the time, and was soon on the regular team. The layers of ancestry include a layer of “sports aristocracy,” something which came to exist in the late 20th century or so, a giant cathedral built upon the purer origins of many sports in the late 19th century (those origins often tracing to informal diversion among college boys to blow off steam during the academic year, scattered general-population enthusiasts, and amateurs forming teams for fun but not expecting to make careers out of it, much less insert themselves into multi-generational sports families, which we now have).
A word on religious ancestry: As I am doing a comprehensive analysis of the U.S. National Team 2022’s ethnocultural identities and origins, I am also interested in religion as a component thereof and often as a signal for ethnicity or quasi-ethnicity. I am interested in any possible Jewish or Muslim ties. Here we have Jordan Morris with an Iranian grandfather. But there are plenty more than Muslims in Iran, especially among the diaspora. Jordan Morris’ parents were married in a Presbyterian church in 1989. the Portuguese “Morrises” of California were definitely Catholic. Was the bride’s family Presbyterian? Were the Garmanians of Iran a Protestant-Christian family, perhaps of a longstanding Christian group that had been in contact with U.S. Presbyterian missionaries (active in parts of Iran for several generations)? Those kind of ties could also explain how the grandfather Garmanian got access to the USA in 1950.
A resummary of the soccer player Jordan Morris’ ethnic-ancestral stock, by grandparental surname: Morris (Portuguese, 1910s origin), Myers (probably NW-European of older stock), Garmanian (Iran; Presbyterian?, 1950 arrival), Moyer (Kansas; Methodist, many generations of U.S. nativity).
Racial-national origin: White-American. Up to half Croatian by ancestry (mid-20th-century arrival in the USA), the rest NW-European-origin likely of American stock.
“Sports ancestry”: Both Christian Pulisic’s parents were serious soccer players at the college level at George Mason University, Virginia, circa 1990. Both parents were and are full-on, life-long-committed to ‘professional sports,’ in that besides their own reasonably impressive soccer-playing careers, their college degrees were (both) in physical education.
The World Cup 2022 man’s father, Mark Pulisic (b.1968), as a young man was good enough to become semi-pro in soccer in the slim-pickings that was USA pro soccer in the 1990s, the big interest in “World Cup USA ’94” notwithstanding (a characteristic blip of interest that passed on the radar screen — though it did inspire the creation of the MLS league two years later). Mark Pulisic has coached at various levels for decades.
Mark Pulisic himself is said to have been born and raised in Centereach, Long Island, New York. As an adult, he has anchored himself in central Pennsylvania, where the 2020s-era soccer sensation Christian Pulisic was born (b.1998) and grew up.
The Long Island origins of Christian Pulisic’s father could put Christian Pulisic on the long list of Team-USA-2022 members from greater New York. Included more firmly on that list are: Matt Turner, Joe Scally, Tyler Adams, and Gio Reyna. Adding Pulisic, even if an arguable or fringe case, makes five. If one wants to reach, several more can be added from among those with dubious America ties but some biographical connection to “NYC,” including Tim Weah [of Liberian origin], Yunus Musah [lifelong England, but whose mother had been the passport-shopper birth-tourist], Sergino Dest [whose Surinamese father spent time in New York], and Jedi Robinson [whose Jamaican father lived a few years near New York]. The expanded list makes at least nine of the 26-man roster [35%] with at least some kind of New York ties, albeit highly “asterisked.”
Christian Pulisic’s paternal grandfather (1934-2020) was born in Croatia, but his obituary is not helpful in establishing the precise time-period or reason for his emigration. From context, most plausible is that the grandfather arrived under one of the Displaced Person resettlement programs run and administered by various groups in the late 1940s and into the early 1950s, indicating a life-discontinuity associated with the war and major geopolitical changes of 1940s Europe. I am uncertain of whether the Croatian grandfather married a Croatian woman in America, but given how much Mark Pulisic looks like a Croat and given his special affinity for the country (see below), his mother is probably also Croatian. If so, it makes the soccer star half Croatian by ancestry.
Christian Pulisic’s mother was born Kelley Lynn Harlow (b.1971). She looks fully NW-European (see family pic). The full ancestral picture is half NW-European, up to half-Croat.
A half-Croatian ancestry from Christian Pulisic would mean 3.5% of the White portion of the U.S. National Team is Croatian (= 0.5 / 14.1). That is probably more than 10x higher than the share of the overall U.S. White-Christian population-stock that is of Croat origin. And this is no mere of partial Croatian ancestry by some “benchwarmer,” for Christian Pulisic is considered the standout player on Team-USA-2022, with some claiming he is the best soccer player ever produced by the USA.
It may be no big surprise that there is this “Croat” component of the U.S. National Team, given how strong the Croatia national teams themselves have been. Despite being a small country, they almost always qualify for the European Cup and World Cup against tough European competition. In 2018, Croatia even reached the final, with zero foreign players, where they faced off against the Subsaharan-majority France team (see: “Croatia World Cup 2018 team racial-national ancestry analysis: 100% White“). (Note: Croatia has 3.6 million residents, and 2.5 or 3 million more in a diaspora fanned out mostly across the West.)
The elite soccer player Christian Pulisic himself engaged in the “passport shopping” trend a few years ago by grabbing a Croatia passport to add to his collection. This makes him a dual-citizen, but his connection to Croatia is at least more plausible than is backup goalie Matt Turner’s “connection” to Lithuania (via a Jewish ancestor). The purpose of the Croatian citizenship is to offer him job flexibility in the European soccer leagues, they say. Alright, but the whole thing is a little strange and a little distasteful, whatever the circumstances, unless an applicant has active plans to live in Croatia, in which case it would be rather more defensible especially in this case.
The World Cup-2022 man’s father, Mark Pulisic, went to Croatia in his early twenties in 1991 to train for soccer soon after graduating from George Mason University and thereby ending his time as that college’s star soccer player. He understood Croatia to be a much more serious “soccer country” than the USA, where soccer is traditionally seen as an unserious sport primarily as a safe diversion for young kids (and many from serious soccer countries deride the very name “soccer” as undignified-sounding and ridiculous, a kind of “kid’s word”).
Mark Pulisic gave an interesting interview in 1994 about his 1991 soccer-training-related stay in Croatia. He stressed how inopportune a time it turned out to b, to show up wanting to play soccer, a plan he had hatched in about 1990 as his college-sports career ended. The year 1991 turned out to be the early stages of the series of 1990s Balkan Wars. Everyone in Croatia, the elite soccer people included, was in a terrible mood when reports came in of killings and battles between ethnic paramilitaries. Everybody in Croatia, including the elite soccer people Mark Pulisic sought out, was in a terrible mood. (The 1994 interview came some months before the U.S.-hosted 1994 World Cup and the ongoing, headache-inducing series of Balkan wars, into which the U.S. and NATO were beginning to insert themselves, and culminating in some ways with the bombing of Serbia and the creation of the client state of “Kosovo” at the end of the 1990s.)
Christian Pulisic has played professionally in Germany since age 17 (early 2016). He skipped college (and “college sports”) entirely, to dive headfirst into the European elite club-football machine. He had fully emplaced within a U.S.-domestic version of the Big Soccer machine back into pre-teen boyhood, and was basically a full-time “machine”-soccer person by age 15.
Mark Pulisic, the father, was his son’s coach many years growing up in Pennsylvania. Naturally, he was close at hand when his son got going with the German soccer club Borussia Dortmund’ and its’s youth organization. In a photo from that era, we see Christian Pulisic looking very much the teenager that he was — but several years later the boy had grown up and in 2020 someone started calling him “Captain America,” a nickname which stuck. (I note how unlikely it is that the ‘real’ Captain America was a dual-citizen.)
By winter 2020-21, knowledgeable persons were heard gushing that Christian Pulisic was “the best male soccer player [the USA] ever produced,” and “one of the best in the world”, so said GQ Magazine (“America finally has a global soccer star,” GQ, by Oliver Franklin-Wallis, Jan. 2021). The cover-image in the GQ issue that praises the newly knighted members of the pro-sports-aristocracy shows that Christian Pulisic had by then made the mistake of getting one of those ugly “sleeve tattoos,” a mash-up of ink on the arm down to the wrist. But with his millions of dollars and the personality-cult that for some reason gets attached to star sports players, there might be plenty who insist the “emperor’s tattoo” looks just wonderful.
There is evident Dinaric influence via the Croatian ancestry. It is less overt in Christian Pulisic than in his two siblings (see family pic), with the elite soccer player’s phenotype showing ‘balancing’ influence from the NW-European maternal side, but in many pictures he is definitely still within the usual range of looks of Croatian males.
Racial-national origin: White. Half-White-American origin, quarter-Argentine, quarter-Portuguese. He is fairly called “Not Hispanic” under a reasonable definition (see below).
Gio Reyna is another of the many players on Team-USA-2022 with close family connections to professional soccer, making “soccer” seem like a kind of family-inherited aristocratic lineage in the USA, in operation but not much noticed.
Gio Reyna’s father is Claudio Reyna, a recognizable name to anyone who followed U.S. international soccer in the 1990s and 2000s, as he was a fixture on the U.S. National Team from 1994 to 2006, debuting with the U.S.-hosted 1994 World Cup.
In this case it gets more interesting still: Gino Reyna’s grandfather was also a professional player in Argentina. That grandfather was able to enter the USA in the year 1968, entry suddenly easier as U.S. immigration law had just opened up that year (July 1968 was the month the Hart-Cellar Act took effect, abolishing the longstanding national-quota system that generally tightly restricted immigration). This Argentine soccer player raised his son, Claudio (b.1973), to be a soccer fanatic, and the boy cultivated the hobby growing up in New Jersey. It paid off when Claudio proved good and became a millionaire playing for European clubs in the 1990s and 2000s. The tradition continues with the Argentine immigrant’s grandson, the World Cup-2022 man Gio Reyna (b.2002).
Selective breeding also helps, and reinforces one’s idea of a “soccer aristocracy.” Gio’s mother, a White-American born Danielle Egan (b.1973), was a semi-elite soccer player herself. Claudio Reyna and Danielle Egan met through pro-soccer in the 1990s. (See Reyna family pics from the mid-2000s and from 2018 [the oldest boy is Gio Reyna in the 2018 shot].)
In mid-2019, Gio Reyna was fed headfirst into the European elite-soccer machine after some years in the youth system of one of the New York MLS teams. He had grown up in the New York area in the shadow of his father Claudio Reyna’s millions of dollars from Big Sports and the glow of his long career in USA Soccer.
Ethnic-national ancestry for Gio Reyna includes the Argentine and Portuguese via father Claudio Reyna, and half NW-European via his mother, who is from suburban New York and who says her primary ethnic-identity is “Irish.” I classified Gio Reyna in the big chart as 0.5 White-American, 0.4 White-foreign, 0.1 Other/Amerind, perhaps a liberal-side estimate on the ‘Other’ category as I don’t know what the “Portuguese” origins are.
Gio Reyna definitely qualifies as one of the Team-USA members who is a product of Greater New York, a long list (see discussion under the Christian Pulisic entry, paragraph: “The Long Island origins of Christian Pulisic’s father…”).
Is Gio Reyna “Hispanic”? This depends on definition, but we know that he understands almost no Spanish. When a Spanish-language sports reporter spotted him, Gio Reyna could not answer basic questions in Spanish. His native English is also delivered, frankly, lazily, a lowest-common-denominator form of speaking. (See video interview, July 2019, which is at first in Spanish but which turns into English when Gio Reyna arrives and is unable to understand.)
With minimal Amerind ancestry (depending on what he may have gotten via the Argentina grandfather), with no apparent connection to any Hispanic culture and no Spanish language, if one such as this insists he is “Hispanic,” it’s just a form of boutique identity-shopping often done to appeal for some perceived social prestige, or if encouraged by an ideologue to identify against White-Middle-America. What is Gio Reyna’s “identity”? One wonders in some ways, but his main identity may well be “soccer,” even as a quasi-“micro-ethnicity” given his parents (and grandfather), his own upbringing, and his life trajectory.
Racial-national origin: White-American.
Josh Sargent is yet another case of having two serious-soccer-player parents. They played at the college level.
He was born and raised on the fringes of the St. Louis metro area, an origin he shares with USA-2022 teammate Tim Ream.
Josh Sargent’s features resemble those thought typically associated with the Irish, moreso than his parents. (See also pic of Josh Sargent at age 17.)
His mother’s name is Liane Sargent, a given-name associated with Germans as a shortened form of “Juliane.”
His father, Jeff Sargent (b.1969) was a star soccer and basketball player at Aquinas High School, St. Louis, graduating ca.1987. Jeff Sargent then played two years for Flo Valley Community College in Missouri (1987 and 1988). He was so good that he got ‘recruited’ up to Sangamon State University (now known as “University of Illinois–Springfield” [UIS]), where he again excelled.
It may not sound like much, but Sangamon State was a very strong soccer program in the small pond of U.S. Soccer circa 1990. Sangamon State won national soccer championships in the NAIA conference no fewer than three times between 1986 and 1993. In other words, the World-Cup-2022 man’s dad, Jeff Sargent, was a kind of U.S. Soccer near-elite in his own right, in his own time — even if the USA had such a poor soccer infrastructure that the country never even qualified for the World Cup before the 1990s. Nine years after Jeff Sargent’s college soccer career wrapped up, his son was born, and his mother recalls him already at age 3 repeatedly declaring that he would be a professional soccer player (interview with Liane Sargent, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Oct. 9, 2016).
Josh Sargent as a youth showed promise with soccer. In 10th grade (2015-16), the “knock on the door” came from men representing Big Soccer who implied they had enormous amounts of cash and they would like to talk to the parents. The ‘pitch’ was was that if this boy can drop everything and move down to a U.S. Soccer youth training facility full-time, good things can happen. Jeff Sargent, the father, remembering his own soccer glory days some fifteen years earlier, agreed, as did mother Liane. That was the start. The boy Josh Sargent disappeared from the halls of Sr. Dominic High School near St. Louis, Missouri; classmates said he had been taken to Florida.
Soon the European elite clubs’ systems took interest and their first contact with Sargent is said to have been in 2016 already (age 16), the ink dry on a contract with the German Bundesliga club Werder Bremen by about early 2017; he spent more than four years with the organization and played in many Bundesliga matches after graduating from their youth-training system, and in 2021 was transferred to Norwich City, formerly of the English Premier League (but recently demoted to a lower league in England for poor performance).
Josh Sargent was whisked away from home as early as age 15 and has led an unusual, glass-bottle-like life after he was put on the U.S. National Team by May 2018 (age 18). Despite this whirlwind of sports success, he married a Kirsten Lepping in 2020, at only age 20 and has one child. Josh Sargent and his wife seem semi-anachronistic ‘Middle America’ type; Josh Sargent fills a quota of players on “Team USA” who pass for the still-today-quintessential vision of “what America is” to most people in the world. (Another case is fellow St. Louis-origin player, Tim Ream.)
One might reflect on the curious aspect of the ‘nationality’ and ‘identity’ questions, even with the players who are unambiguously American. Their professional sports ‘careers’ are controlled by enormous machines backed by big-money interests. These ‘machines’ suck their marks (the young, would-be players) away from home at a relatively early age, encasing them in an artificial, bright-shiny-light (and big-money) environment, often disconnected from their own origins, making the elite athletes into members of a small parallel society, and for every such ‘success’ they leave many, many others, whom they’d tantalized into approaching the door and briefly entering the warm glow, they shoo them away and leave them out in the cold.
Generally speaking none of these elite players even play college soccer or bother with the U.S. league the MLS — and certainly such a thought never occurred to Josh Sargent, who while the sleek big-money men of European football were unlocking suitcases full of cash in front of him, there was no saying ‘No,’ and he will spend years as a millionaire uprooted from any organic connection to his native land. Maybe he will do fine with this, but assuredly many do not.
A sociologist has proposed that the West in our time is divided between two classes of inhabitant, the “Anywheres” and the “Somewheres.” These “pro-sports” players tend to be forcibly molded into “Anywheres.” There are many examples on Team-USA-2022, some extreme to the point of parody, like the player whose only connection to the USA was the birth-tourism passport-shipping by his mother. Josh Sargent is not like this and has a clear, rooted origin. But the “Anywhere-ization” process can even affect people like this.
Ethnic-ancestry for Josh Sargent: probably near all NW-European. I turn up no evidence of recent foreign origin. His mother’s personal origins are unclear but she is probably of about the same origin, broadly, as his father (see pic).
“Sargent” is prestige-name in American history, associated with some of the elites of New England since the 17th century, a high-church Protestant elite family that contributed greatly to “American greatness,” producing (as it did) so many generations of great men in the arts, sciences, business, politics. But there must also be other Sargent family-lines, less distinguished, arriving at other times. Maybe the paternal line of the Team-USA-2022 man’s paternal line does trace to the Sargents of old New England, but even if so, there is more immediate evidence to point towards “Irish-Catholic” as the major single element in ancestry and ethnopolitical identity for this Sargent family. For one thing, both Josh Sargent and his father attended Catholic high schools; for another, just look at Josh Sargent’s face, freckles, and solidly red hair.
Racial-national origin: Black, foreign origin (Jamaica and Liberia).
Tim Weah’s father is Liberian of some renown. His mother is Jamaican. That explains his West African look, and at a glance he passes for an ordinary Black-American — but he most assuredly has no American ancestry, and is one of the examples on Team-USA-2022 of someone whose USA connections originate, ultimately, with professional soccer.
Tim Weah was born in the USA in 2000 to a pro-soccer-player father, his birth just two days after teammate and fellow forward Josh Sargent was born in humbler circumstances our in Missouri. Tim Weah then grew up in greater New York in the 2000s and into the 2010s, before getting brought into the elite soccer clubs of Europe at age 14 (2014). He had, previous to that, been in an elite U.S. soccer training pipeline, ages 10 to 13.
That the Liberian father of Tim Weah was a successful professional soccer player makes Tim Weah yet another of the players on Team USA with rather-serious “(pro-)soccer ancestry.” But here is where the story gets weird, even beyond parody, and gives new meaning to the metaphor I have been using about a pro-soccer “aristocracy”:
The father, who had deposited his family in New York, ran off back to Liberia to get involved in politics in 2009. One thing led to another and, as of this writing, he is — the president of Liberia! The man is George Weah.
As a professional soccer player, George Weah never lived in America on a permanent basis, until his 2006 retirement from pro-sports. Otherwise it was visits in the off-seasons, as he never played professionally in the USA. By 2009, he was back in Liberia trying to become a politician, which succeeded in a big way. Let us appraise George Weah’s presidency of troubled Liberia a success so far, in that Liberia has had zero additions to its list of periodic civil wars under his watch.
President George Weah is also said to have abandoned Islam after attempting it for about ten years. As this series of profiles primarily on the ethnocultural origins of World up Team-USA-2022 members winds down (Weah being the 25th of 26 men on the roster), we still come up with only one with any Muslim ties, Yunush Musah (perhaps the least-tied-to-America of any of the 26-man squad).We have to tentatively reject the possibility of partial recent-Muslim ancestry for Jordan Morris, and any Muslim origins of Haji Wright are likely weak, if they exist at all. World Cup Team-USA-2022 man Tim Weah has only this anecdote of a father who had dabbled in Islam for some unknown reason before rejecting what may be the world’s most unpopular religion among non-members, perhaps for his political career.
Is Tim Weah an “American”? We are all the products of multiple lines of inheritance that shape our visions of our places in the world and our opportunities in it. Some of our destiny is also shaped by our own experiences and choices within the bounds of time and place. But do not puff yourself up too much and exclude the family-tradition part. Judged on such terms, Tim Weah’s ties to the USA are weak. If one has no ancestors in one’s country of quasi-residence, and if one’s father is the president of Liberia, one is — at best — a “transnational.” But what elite soccer player would want to play for Liberia?
Racial-national origin: Black, foreign origin (Liberia and Ghana).
Haji Wright has no U.S. ancestry and no connection to U.S. Blacks, though his West African ancestry does let him pass at a glance for a Black-American.
Like fellow forward Tim Weah, Haji Wright has part-Liberian origin. Two half-Liberians on Team-USA? Remarkably, nearly as much of Team-USA’s overall Black component comes from one small Subsaharan-African country, Liberia, as comes (ancestrally) from the USA itself (i.e., ADOS).
The Black-of-U.S.-ancestry component of Team-USA-2022 is only about 20% of the roster’s Black-stock (1.65 / 7.95) (see summary-table). The Liberian component alone is 12.5% of the roster’s Black component (1.0 / 7.95), a similar ballpark total. (In terms of the whole team’s aggregate ancestry, Black-US ancestry is 6% [1.65 / 26], Liberian is 4% [1.0 / 26]).
Haji Wright’s mother is the Liberian. His father is from Ghana, which gives Haji Wright an ancestral-nationality connection also to Yunus Musah, the latter in the running for the title “least connected to the USA” of any member of the U.S. team.
Haji Wright himself was born in Los Angeles (b.1998), and was fed into the LA Galaxy (MLS) youth-development system at age 14 (2012). From 2017 to present, he has bounced around the European clubs, and it is claimed he “picked up the German language” while with the Schalke 04 club in the late 2010s, though he began to spend most of his social free-time with fellow Weston McKennie, another Team-USA-2022 player (profiled above), who was also with the Schalke 04 club at the time.
Currently with a club in Turkey, his Turkish club produced a promotional poster boasting, in Turkish, about how one of its high-paid African-origin players is on the “U.S. national team” at the World Cup — a strange mishmash of concepts, but not so out of the ordinary now, it seems.
U.S. Soccer legend Alexei Lalas has said that Wright is the weakest man of the seven forwards on the Team-USA roster in 2022.
A Yahoo Sports writer earlier in the year claimed Haji Wright could be a starting forward at the World Cup (“One-time phenom has chance to find himself as USMNT’s starting World Cup striker,” by Henry Bushnell, Yahoo Sports, May 30, 2022). That boosterish profile of the player included useful info on his family origin, although it comes up empty on what Haji Wright’s African parents doing in Los Angeles in the 1990s or how they got residency visas.
According to sports writer Bushnell, the Haji Wright family lived in Culver City, Los Angeles County (on the fringes of “West LA”), and spent years there. Culver City had a reputation into the late 20th century for being a White town which basically asserted its identity and wanted Stability and not Migrants. “In 1998, L.A. Weekly interviewed blacks and Latinos who described driving through Culver City as akin to ‘running a gauntlet,’ with numerous stops and harassment by the police for no reason other than race,” says John Kent of Streets Blog LA.
In 1991, the mayor of Culver City even issued a public call for immigration-restriction; he boomed in a public speech: “If George Bush wants to draw a line in the sand, he should draw a line between Tijuana and San Diego, not just between Iraq and Kuwait.” Such a “hard-line” appeal would simply not be heard in today’s political conditions, but it was still possible in 1990s-California (see also: “Who Lost California?“). A few years after the mayor’s immigration-restriction speech, the African parents of Haji Wright came to Culver City to stay, and it became the Team-USA-2022 man Haji Wright’s boyhood home.
By one account, in about 2009 the Wright family left Culver City for “L.A.’s hills” to the north. By another account, Haji Wright’s mother still lived in Culver City throughout the 2010s.
There is indication the Wright family has some kind of elite connections, and they saw large-White-majority Culver City as a favorable location. Culver City did have a small Ghanaian presence by at least the early 1990s, even if it never developed into a big one, and there are far more Ghanaians in Inglewood to the south. Liberians had also sprinkled themselves across areas west of downtown LA in the 1990s, many having gotten golden-ticket “refugee” status — Liberia had one of its many civil wars on at the time. The scene looked good to the West African future parents of Haji Wright, who also cruised onto the scene in the 1990s; regardless of the supposed lingering strictness of the White police in town, Culver City seemed a fine place. (Flashing forward to the early 2020s, Culver City’s crime rates have doubled over the late-2010s levels.)
The word of success that some West Africans were having in places like this, and the demonstration effect of the Merkel Migrant Crisis of the 2010s, helped trigger an overland-via-Mexico Subsaharan-African illegal immigration “pipeline,” which began to operate in systematic way for the first time in 2016. Ghanaians were reported to be the largest single nationality-group pushing themselves through the then-new “pipeline” or smuggling network (as reported in the Los Angeles Times, Dec. 24, 2016, “Longing for a ‘peaceful, normal life’.”). Given the U.S. government’s “catch and release” program, the thousands of Ghanaians who so entered could simply proceed onward as they pleased.
Is Haji Wright a Muslim, or of Muslim origin? His name suggests the possibility (full name: Haji Amir Wright), as does the given-name of his younger brother, Hanif, also a professional sports player. If he does have Muslim origins, it would be via Ghana, as with the Team-USA-2022 man Yunus Musah. Even if there is a Muslim tie-in, there is nothing to indicate Haji Wright takes the Muslim religion seriously.
Two days before World Cup 2022 began, a Washington Post writer, Steve Goff, in a typical puff-piece and political framing endeavor, praised Haji Wright by name, and the other “players of color,” for supposedly finally “reflect[ing] ‘the diversity of America’.” Implication: Soccer is too White and must change, essentially a driving mantra of U.S. culture and politics, replacing the first word in that construction as needed.
The quoted part of the Washington Post headline (“the diversity of America”) is attributed to Team-USA coach Gregg Berhalter. I doubt whether the Washington Post writer Steve Goff cares about the specifics, even though he knows well that Haji Wright has no U.S. family origins.
A more interesting story about race and ethno-national origin and ancestry is not some politically-tinged, tired, pre-scripted cheerleading elevating “players of color” to a moral podium for a breaking of some (supposed) “barrier”; the more interesting story is how “foreign-Black” connections far outnumber “U.S.-Black” connections on Team-USA-2022.
There are a handful of tenuous and partial U.S.-Black connections on the team. There is not even one Team-USA member, though, who is fairly called a true Black-American (ADOS) in the sense of family origin and cultural-upbringing — and Haji Wright is certainly not one. Why? Is representing “the diversity of America” really one of those “jobs Americans won’t do” that we used to get lectured about constantly?
Of the seven forwards on the Team-USA-2022 roster:
- 4 White-Christians (Morris, Pulisic, Reyna, Sargent);
- 1 Hispanic-Mestizo (Ferreira);
- 2 foreign-origin Blacks (Weah, Wright).
— Of the seven forwards’ aggregate ancestry, the share that was resident the USA one century ago is calculated to be: ca. 40% (0.75 of Morris; 0.5? of Pulisic; 0.5 of Reyna; 1.0? of Sargent = ca. 2.75 / 7).
— Players whose ancestors were all (or nearly all) in the USA one century ago: 1 of 7 (Sargent, likely).
— Players with (at least arguably) weak, dubious, or trivial ties to the USA: 1 of 7 (Ferreira). Weah and Wright also have only recent ties.
Overall summary, commentary, and thoughts on cultural-political implications
I have profiled in substantial depth the origins and ethnocultural affiliations and ancestry of all 26 members of the U.S. Men’s National Team that at the World Cup in Qatar 2022. In the course of this document, 20,000 words in full length (averaging 700 words per player) — I have gone down dozens of alleys and avenues.
A few thoughts of a “sumarizing” nature:
- Whites: The “U.S. national team” in 2022 does have a substantial White component reflecting the ethnocultural core and founding-and-building stock of the nation. However, even with the four-in-ten or so Whites on the roster, there are substantial recent-foreign ties, often by personal origin and otherwise almost always by major life-events or associations (the biggest exception seeming to be Aaron Long, the one-time construction worker from Mojave Desert willing to bash the prima-donnas, who “walked-on” as an adult without significant elite-soccer origins).
- Still a comparatively White sport: While only around four-in-ten on the roster could be called Whites, the U.S. Men’s National Team is far more White than the “national teams” fielded by the USA in the sport of basketball (in the past fifty years; the USA did often field majority-White national basketball teams before ca.1975), or in any “national team” in the sport of “American football” that would conceivably be assembled in recent decades.
By the 2000s, there was increasing talk to the effect that certain pro-sports in the USA had turned towards an active, if tacit, discrimination against Whites. Being that Whites were the majority and the historical ethnocultural core of the nation, such a development meant a de facto de-nationalization, or de-communalization, of sports. The transition had been decades in the making, but a quiet threshold was crossed, perhaps sometimes in the 1990s. BUT, the sometimes-scorned game known in the USA as “soccer” was long an exception to this trend. The great names of U.S. Soccer in the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s were nearly all White. Even with Team-USA-2022, the numerous mixed-race players were usually raised by Whites and in White environments, and their development as pro players was fostered and developed in White environments (as with Tyler Adams‘ soccer-fanatic White stepfather, but the phenomenon is essentially at the ‘systemic’ level).
- Hispanics: The lack of Hispanic-Mestizos on Team-USA is a curiosity. It is another example of the phenomenon of just how ‘low profile’ Hispanics are in U.S. culture in some ways, despite their now-considerable numbers and demographic momentum.
Of U.S.-born males of the relevant age range, certainly well over one-sixth are Hispanic-Mestizos, most often from Mexico. Given interest in soccer, these Hispanics might be expected to be, say, double-overrepresented — at least one-third, if not half the team. Not elite-imports direct from Latin America (as with Ferreira), but home-grown Hispanics — the ‘fruit’ of forty or fifty years’ immigration policy. But we find only one such player on the 26-man roster (Roldan)! What does it mean?
- Blacks: In effect, there are no Black-American players on World Cup Team-USA-2022. A large majority of the Black component is of foreign-origin.
Those few players with known, likely, or possible Black-US.-origin ancestry (i.e., descendants of the Black population in the USA in 1865, lately sometimes called “ADOS” for precision) are all mixed-race — and tend to be raised away from Black culture. The only semi-exception to this rule is Weston McKennie, who led an unusual quasi-transnational life as the mixed-race son of a U.S. military officer. His father, who does seem to have raised him, is indeed likely of U.S.-Black of “non-foreign” origin.
- Tenuous or dubious U.S. ties among certain players: Another major theme of this study is the phenomenon of players of recent foreign ties on the team, and some cases of players who outright have no ties whatsoever to the USA beyond affiliation with the “national team,” having grown up abroad to foreign parents with some tenuous right-to-U.S.-residency claim via a parent. This follows from some of the discussion above but also transcends it, a political phenomenon. What is a citizen? What is a nation?
There are a number of “passport-shoppers” on the team even among those with relatively firm U.S. ties, dual citizens, which even includes the standout star Christian Pulisic (now a dual-citizen with Croatia). There are several egregious cases of people without actual U.S. ties on the team but the Musah case may top them all.
It feels like in previous eras, the use of ‘mercenary’ players without reasonably firm local-country ties would not have been done as much, or at all.
- Sports as politics; team field-sports as proxy for war; tournaments as national-rivalry. There are multiple political and cultural implications of this study, often smaller ones raised in individual entries. The basic political point is the question-pair raised in a bullet-point above — “What is a citizen? What is a nation?” — and applies to many of the Western European “national teams.”
It is often observed that team field-sports are proxies for war, for combat “as our forefathers fought of old,” before the 20th century or so. Now, it’s true that armies “of old” would sometimes end up disconnected from the nation, a martial caste of either a parallel-society aristocratic origin or foreign mercenaries. Both these phenomena are observed on Team-USA-2022. But is there not something to be said for the strength and spirit that comes from fellow-members of the same people, nation?
Consider the strong runs by countries like Iceland or even Croatia — both fielding 100%-“White” teams with all players of local origin in 2018. Iceland’s team would be like one section of one U.S. metro area fielding a team. And then there was Bulgaria’s surprise success in 1994, reaching the semi-final against anyone’s expectation, thrill to the Bulgarians national-spirit in the first World Cup since the full disassociation from the Soviet-bloc. These results, and one could list many more, were the phenomena they were because the teams were indeed “national teams.”
Besides just the foreign ties, note how most players on the team happen to be the sons of pro-athletes (except, for some reason, the midfielders), and what a “well-oiled, big-money machine” pro soccer is.
If sports is a proxy or metaphor for combat and warring armies, the U.S. Men’s National Team has now mostly transitioned from the ‘levee en masse‘ model of the citizen-soldier drawn from the nation, and towards a mostly a mercenary or transnational-aristocratic model.
The racial-ethnic-national-origin demographics of the U.S. World Cup 2022 team are summarized here: