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USMNT Captain Tyler Adams Keeps Poise in Answer to Reporter at World Cup

Ahead of the United States men’s national team’s pivotal group stage finale against Iran, team captain Tyler Adams faced a potentially uncomfortable interaction with an Iranian reporter at a pre-match press conference.

After being informed that he was pronouncing “Iran” incorrectly, Adams was asked about his feelings toward discrimination against Black people in America. The 23-year-old midfielder drew upon his experience living abroad in his composed response.

“My apologies on the mispronunciation of your country. That being said, there’s discrimination everywhere you go,” Adams said. “One thing that I’ve learned, especially from living abroad in the past years and having to fit in in different cultures, is that in the U.S., we’re continuing to make progress every single day.”

Adams, who plays for Leeds United of the English Premier League and made his Team USA debut in 2017 at age 18, grew up in New York and has played professionally in the MLS, Germany’s Bundesliga and now the EPL. He cited his mixed race background as playing a key role in enabling him to acclimate within different cultures, and expressed optimism that the U.S. is making progress in regards to discrimination against Black people.

“I grew up in a white family with obviously an African American heritage and background as well, so I had a little bit of different cultures and I was very easily able to assimilate in different cultures,” Adams said. “Not everyone has that ease and the ability to do that. And obviously it takes the longest to understand. And through education, I think it’s super important—like you just educated me now on the pronunciation of your country.

“So it’s a process. I think as long as you see progress, that’s the most important thing.”