Team USA Recruits Local Qatari Team to Assist in World Cup Preparation

The United States Men's team at the FIFA World Cup Soccer in March 2022.
The United States Men's team at the FIFA World Cup Soccer in March 2022. Photo by CSM/Shutterstock (12869502l)

In preparation for the upcoming World Cup, the United States men’s national team has scheduled a closed-door training session with local Qatari Stars League club Al-Gharafa SC.

With only four days to go until their first game of the World Cup against Wales, the United States will not be competing in a pre-tournament friendly game as other nations have opted to do. Instead, coach Gregg Berhalter decided on a training session with Al-Gharafa so as not to overexert his players.

Currently, the club sits in the fourth position in the 12-team Qatari league. The team’s home ground, the Thani bin Jassim Stadium, will serve as the United States training site for the entirety of the tournament.

While the team was able to train together for about a month and play three friendly games in preparation for the 2014 World Cup, the preparation for this edition of the tournament was more rushed.

According to right-back DeAndre Yedlin, the one major advantage of the Qatar World Cup over the 2014 competition in Brazil is that there is less travel involved.

“In Brazil, you’re flying three or four hours so you can’t really have a base. We had base hotel but it didn’t feel like a base. Whereas here the first thing Gregg told us was ‘Unpack your things, put your books in the bookshelf, put your clothes in drawers, get comfortable.’ Psychologically, that has a big positive effect on people,” Yedlin commented.