WAPPINGERS FALLS, N.Y. — The United States may be out of the World Cup, but the team’s elimination on Saturday did little to dim the pride for the team’s captain, Tyler Adams, in his Hudson Valley hometown.
Adams, 23, is one of the youngest players to be captain of the U.S. men’s national team, and his play in Qatar had captured the attention of those around his hometown, Wappinger, between Poughkeepsie and Fishkill, near the banks of the Hudson River.
At the County Fare Bar & Grill on Saturday morning, it seemed that nearly half the town showed up to cheer for Adams. That included Matt Ball and Joseph Cavaccini, who had grown up with the soccer star and his brothers, as well as a bus driver known to boast over her loudspeaker that Adams had graduated from nearby Roy C. Ketcham High School.
Family friends, former schoolmates and neighbors recalled Adams as a driven young man who regularly missed social and school functions — including his own graduation ceremony — because of sports commitments.
Adams worked hard, Cavaccini said using, more colorful terms. “That’s why it’s not a surprise. It’s just pride — we are just so proud,” he said.
A Brief Guide to the 2022 World Cup
What is the World Cup? The quadrennial event pits the best national soccer teams against each other for the title of world champion. Here’s a primer to the 2022 men’s tournament:
Where is it being held? This year’s host is Qatar, which in 2010 beat the United States and Japan to win the right to hold the tournament. Whether that was an honest competition remains in dispute.
When is it? The tournament opened on Nov. 20, when Qatar played Ecuador. Over the two weeks that follow, four games will be played on most days. The tournament ends with the final on Dec. 18.
Is a winter World Cup normal? No. The World Cup usually takes place in July. But in 2015, FIFA concluded that the summer temperatures in Qatar might have unpleasant consequences and agreed to move the tournament to the relatively bearable months of November and December.
How many teams are competing? Thirty-two. Qatar qualified automatically as the host, and after years of matches, the other 31 teams earned the right to come and play. Meet the teams here.
How does the tournament work? The 32 teams are divided into eight groups of four. In the opening stage, each team plays all the other teams in its group once. The top two finishers in each group advance to the round of 16. After that, the World Cup is a straight knockout tournament.
How can I watch the World Cup in the U.S.? The tournament will be broadcast on Fox and FS1 in English, and on Telemundo in Spanish. You can livestream it on Peacock, or on streaming services that carry Fox and FS1. Here’s how to watch every match.
When will the games take place? Qatar is three hours ahead of London, eight hours ahead of New York and 11 hours ahead of Los Angeles. That means there will be predawn kickoffs on the East Coast of the United States for some games, and midafternoon starts for 10 p.m. games in Qatar.
Got more questions? We’ve got more answers here.
Proud too was Ball, who had just returned from visiting Adams overseas. He briefly considered flying to Qatar to support his friend but was deterred by the five-figure travel costs.
Instead, Ball and several dozen others had gathered at the local pub before the 10 a.m. kickoff. The bar’s owner, Dana Tompkins, opened early to show the game.
Fans remained engaged even though the Netherlands led throughout much of the game, erupting in whistles, jeers and shouts every time the U.S. team got into the goal box.
“They gave it their all,” said Steve Luciano, who dug out an American flag T-shirt for the occasion.
By his own account, Adams grew up in the nearby city of Poughkeepsie, where he and his mother shared a small, two-bedroom apartment. He has spoken of the formative power of those early years — keeping his mother company at the library after she had worked a full shift, waking up early to watch his hero Thierry Henry play for Arsenal while he nursed professional soccer dreams of his own.
Later, the family relocated to the town of Wappinger and Adams’s mother remarried — transforming Adams from an only child to the eldest of four brothers in a family that shared a love of soccer.
At 16 Adams made his debut with the New York Red Bulls soccer club. This July, he joined Leeds United of the English Premier League, commanding a transfer fee of $24 million.
During the World Cup, Adams mentioned his upbringing in a multiracial family and his time in Britain when asked by an Iranian journalist about racism in the United States — a question that was framed with criticism for how Adams had pronounced “Iran.”
“I grew up in a white family with obviously an African American heritage and background as well,” Adams said. “So I had a little bit of different cultures and I was very easily able to assimilate in different cultures. Not everyone has that ease and the ability to do that, and obviously it takes longer to understand, and through education I think it’s super important — like you just educated me now on the pronunciation of your country.”
Adams said he believed the United States was “continuing to make progress” on racism.
His friends back home will have to wait before they can show Adams support once more on the world stage, with the U.S. team out of the tournament after its 3-1 loss.
Ball is already looking forward to the 2026 World Cup, which he notes, will be held in North America.
“We’ll be back!” he said.