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Starting US team for Qatar 2022.
The U.S.'s first 11 at Qatar 2022. Photo: @USMNT.

Team U.S.A. featured no Latinos in its 1-1 draw with Wales

In the team's debut against Wales, manager Gregg Berhalter didn't feature any of the five Latino players on Team U.S.A.

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Hispanic soccer players are often the stand out stars on national team rosters, but Team U.S.A. doesn't feature many on its team and none saw the field in the team in the team's first game against Wales, which ended in a draw.

Only five players, among the 26 selected to be a part the U.S.'s World Cup squad, have Latino or Hispanic origins, a demographic group that represents a considerable part of the fans of the game in the United States — and now close to 20% of the country's total population. In addition, much of the boost to soccer's popularity in the country is because of the contributions of these communities across the country and the talent they've produced that have gone on to lead successful professional careers.

Why so few Latinos?

According to a report by The Guardian, there are several reasons for the low number of Latinos on the U.S.'s Qatar 2022 roster. Some  

Some players, such as David Ochoa, Efraín Álvarez and Julián Araujo, who have Mexican and American nationalities, decided to play for the Mexican team, although they were left out of their country's World Cup squads.

Sports journalist Jon Arnold also argued that there aren't enough Latino players with national team credentials to be considered.

The U.S. soccer system also favors players that come from white, affluent backgrounds. 

“The expense associated with participating in U.S. youth soccer often sets up white, affluent children to thrive. The best of those players also frequently have European backgrounds — and EU passports — that let them seek opportunities in Europe’s high-caliber leagues without requiring clubs to give them one of a limited number of spots for players coming from outside the continent,” writes The Guardian.

Hispanics and Latinos on the team

Here are the players with Hispanic or Latino roots who are part of Team U.S.A.'s squad in Qatar.

  • Cristián Roldán, who was born in Artesia, California, 27 years ago. The Seattle Sounders midfielder has 32 caps for the national team.
  • Giovanni Reyna, is 20 years old. The Borussia Dortmund midfielder was born in Durham, England and has made 14 appearances for the national team.
  • Forward Jesús Ferreira, born in Santa Marta, Colombia, is 21 years old, plays for FC Dallas and has competed in 15 international matches with the national team.
  • Kellyn Acosta, grandson of a Mexican, is 27 years old and has played 54 games with the national neam. The midfielder plays for Los Angeles FC.
  • The fifth is Luca de la Torre, a 24-year-old midfielder who plays for Celta de Vigo, in Spain. He was born in San Diego, California, and has played 12 games with the national team so far. His roots are Spanish.

Ricardo Pepi, a Mexican-American striker who settled a heated battle over what country he would play for by choosing the U.S. over his family's native country, but was eventually left out of the squad.

Click here for the full U.S. squad.

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