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After smooth transition to RB Leipzig, Adams focused on new challenge with USMNT


Of all the players in the current U.S. Men’s National Team camp, none has had a busier and more taxing 2019 than Tyler Adams.

He completed a transfer from the New York Red Bulls to RB Leipzig in January, adapted to a new team and new country, fought his way into his new team’s starting lineup, establishing himself as a key starter for the Bundesliga club. All the while he was also communicating with new USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter, learning about the system Berhalter planned on implementing. To top all that off, Berhalter also informed Adams of a plan to use him in a new role, as a hybrid right back/defensive midfielder.

All that has happened in less than three months, a period of time when Adams also managed to squeeze in celebrating his 20th birthday.

Tyler’s one of these players you’d think he’s a 30-year-old player by the way he is,” USMNT veteran DeAndre Yedlin said of Adams. “You’d think he’d been playing for 12 years already.

“He’s a great player and obviously he’s made a big move and he’s done really well over there in Germany as well,” Yedlin said. “He’s one of those players that it just always seems like he knows where to be and what he needs to do. I think for that reason he’ll have a very long career because he just seems like such an experienced player at such a young age.”

“I see a young player who has a lot of good starting points to be a very, very good player. He is a very, very good player,” U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley said of Adams. “The way he can move around the field, the way that he reads things, the way he’s in on plays. His competitiveness, his feel for the game, all these things are at a high level.

“Obviously I’ve played against him before, and when now you start to get to know him over a few days you can absolutely see he has a good mentality,” Bradley said. “He comes ready to train, ready to work. He’s into it, he’s competitive, and so in all ways its been fun to get to know him on a level like that.”

Adams started a majority of the USMNT matches in 2018, but even though you can’t really call him a newcomer anymore, he heads into the upcoming friendlies against Ecuador and Chile facing the challenge of adapting to a new role, as a right back that also operates as a defensive midfielder at times.

“You have to read the game and see what the game gives you,” Adams said of his new role. “You can’t just pop into the middle of the field whenever you want, pop out wide whenever you want. It’s about trying to take players away at the right times, opening spaces for other players, and obviously when you get on the ball making the right decisions.

“It’s not easy. Sometimes you have the ball and you’re trying to attract players the right way and you’re facing your own goal when you receive the ball,” Adams said. “So finding ways that you can be at the half-turn and play forward and still be dangerous, because at the end of the day we want to create chances, and I think in the role that I’m playing now, getting the ball and trying to penetrate is key in that position.”

There is a sense in some circles that deploying Adams at right back is limiting him or could potentially minimize the impact he can have, but the versatility of the position is one that Adams believes can help him put a major stamp on matches in the new role.

“Almost having that freedom where in certain areas of the game when I want to pop into the midfield and I feel like maybe I’m not being as useful as a right back I have the freedom to do that,” Adams said. “Gregg has not limited me here. I’m still playing in midfield, I’m comfortable in whichever role and he’s just trying to make me feel as comfortable as possible.

“It won’t take one game, of course not, and I’m going to try and adapt as quickly as possible but the freedom is the key for me,” Adam’s said. “I think this role, it doesn’t limit me. Defensively I’ll still be able to pop in and around the ball and try to create transition moments, which I think I’m good at.”

Though he’s one of the younger players on the team, Adams is determined to establish himself as one of the key players on the USMNT as it begins the march toward qualifying for the 2022 World Cup. Boasting a mentality that has already convinced some that he could be a future national team captain, Adams isn’t shying away from the goal of working toward a big role on the team.

“There’s a lot of things that we talk about, that we need to be leaders, we need to show everybody what we’re about,” Adas said. “It’s one thing to talk about being the future, but you have to go out there every game day and every day in practice and show what we’re capable of.”

“There’s a lot of times, I feel that in the U.S. we talk about how many good young players we have, and there’s a lot of players that end up falling off or not being heard about again, and you don’t want to be one of those players.”


  1. Where were the articles on Bradley walking/jogging all the time or Bradley never playing any other part of the field except the middle? Or every talented CM player who is better than Bradley suddenly has to adapt to a new role/challenge on the outside.

  2. This decision is loaded with secondary agendas. Moving him back is step one of getting rid of Yedlin. It also paves the way for keeping Bradley on and longer term, Trapp too. Adams should be starting over both of them but if he’s playing RB, they’re safe. Again a way for GB to protect his favs.


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