With the U.S. Men’s National Team looking for a positive start to play this month, one player who is also hoping to make an impact is midfielder Alfredo Morales.
Currently off to a strong start in the German Bundesliga with Fortuna Dusseldorf, Morales will look to make his win his first senior cap since 2015.
Born in Berlin, Germany, Morales comes into the camp as a veteran amid several young talented players in midfield. It may feel a bit overdue for Morales, who has seen consistent minutes with Fortuna Dusseldorf, but he’s hoping to be supporting to all of his new and former teammates.
“Of course it feels like a fresh start, it’s been three years since the last time I was called in,” Morales said. “It’s been a long time, but I don’t see it negatively. I want to help the team and make an impact. I’m just trying to support in every way I can and this is what I know I can bring to the table.”
“Gregg told me that I deserved to come into camp and be a part of it. He was trying to explain to me his styles and how he wants us to play as a team. He wants us to improve. It was a really good conversation and I was happy to meet him. It’s been a good few days together.”
Morales has also been joined at Dusseldorf by another member of the current USMNT roster, goalkeeper Zack Steffen. Steffen, currently on-loan from EPL giants Manchester City, has played every first-team match so far this new season and has gotten to work with the likes of Morales both on and off the pitch.
It may be just a short time together so far, but Steffen and Morales have formed a friendship at the Bundesliga club. Steffen has only played with Morales for a few months now, but credits the veteran midfielder for his smooth transition to life back in Germany.
“It’s good to be able to come back here and travel with Alfredo as well, he’s a great guy,” Steffen said. “We have really bonded since we’ve been together with the team.”
“I remember watching him before with the National Team before I was involved with the Senior Team. He’s an outstanding player, very physical and very poised on the ball. He’s a huge part of our team at Dusseldorf and I think he can help us out big time here.”
Friday’s friendly against Concacaf rivals Mexico will give Morales his first in-person chance to impress head coach Gregg Berhalter. Berhalter, unlike former head coaches Bruce Arena and Dave Sarachan, has given Morales the opportunity to return to the senior team and prove a point that he can still produce.
The disappointment of waiting three years for a call-up weighed on Morales’ mind, but he continued to work on his craft in Germany. After 51 Bundesliga appearances with FC Ingolstadt prior to its relegation, Morales then made the move to Fortuna Dusseldorf, where he is building on a decent 2018-2019 season. He only has two matches this month to represent the USMNT, and wants to help the team towards future success.
“I didn’t know when I was going to get called up,” Morales said. “As a professional athlete you always want to achieve the goals that you set for yourself. I was disappointed at times not being called in before, because I was giving my best everyday. I am a confident person so I knew that the chance would be there again.”
“I always felt connected with the team through social media and I tried to watch the U.S. games, but it was hard with the time difference I was always trying to know what was going on with the team. Everyone was disappointed before the World Cup, but that time is over. We have to look forward.”