TEXAS, USA — The United States men's national team qualified for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar despite a 2-0 loss to Costa Rica in its qualifying stage finale.
The USMNT had already accumulated enough points in the CONCACAF standings and goal differential in previous matches to assure their qualification. The only way the U.S. would not have made a top three automatic qualifying spot was if Costa Rica defeated the United States by six goals to make up the goal differential and win the tiebreaker.
So, the men's team will be headed to Qatar and there are a number of Texas ties with this squad. The final roster for the World Cup will not be selected until the final weeks leading up to the event in November, but it's expected some of the following players will represent the red, white and blue.
USMNT players with Texas ties
Jesús Ferreira is a forward for FC Dallas and has lived in the North Texas area since he was a child. Ferreira is originally from Colombia but moved to McKinney with his father when he was 10 years old. Ferreira joined the FC Dallas youth academy and worked his way through the ranks of the club to the senior roster.
Ricardo Pepi is a 19-year-old striker from El Paso and another FC Dallas product. Pepi joined the FC Dallas youth academy in 2019 and was signed later that year to a homegrown player deal, becoming the club's fourth youngest academy signing at 16 years and 163 days old.
Pepi boosted into national limelight in his 2021 season with FC Dallas, where he led the club with 13 goals.
Pepi was loaned out by FC Dallas to FC Augsburg in the top league in Germany (Bundesliga) before the 2022 season.
He scored both goals in a 2-0 World Cup qualifying win over Jamaica in Austin.
Kellyn Acosta is a 26-year-old midfielder for Los Angeles FC, who began his career playing with FC Dallas. Acosta is a native of Plano and yet another product of FC Dallas' youth academy system.
Acosta debuted for FC Dallas' first time in 2013 and played in Frisco until 2018, when he was traded to the Colorado Rapids. He played for Colorado from 2018 to 2021 and joined Los Angeles FC in 2022.
Acosta has made appearances for the USMNT since 2016.
Weston McKennie is a 23-year-old midfielder from Little Elm, Texas, and also played in the FC Dallas youth academy. McKennie is an army brat who previously lived in Washington state and Germany before moving to Little Elm. McKennie played in the FC Dallas youth academy from 2009 to 2016 and turned down a homegrown contract to join Schalke, a club in the Bundesliga league in Germany.
McKennie played for Schalke from 2017 to 2021, when he was loaned to Juventus, a popular club team in the Serie A league in Italy.
McKennis has played for the USMNT since 2017. In February, he broke his foot and missed the final three World Cup qualifier matches. McKennie is expected to be back for the World Cup, however.
Paul Arriola is a 27-year-old midfielder who plays for FC Dallas. Arriola is new to North Texas after joining FC Dallas prior to the 2022 MLS season. Prior to descending on Frisco, Arriola played for Swansea City A.F.C., a club based in Wales.
Arriola has made appearances for the USMNT since 2016.
Reggie Cannon is a 23-year-old right back from Grapevine, Texas. Cannon played high school soccer for Grapevine Faith Christian School and won the TAPPS Division 2 Texas state championship in his freshman year. While in high school, Cannon played for the FC Dallas academy team.
Cannon signed a homegrown player contract with FC Dallas in 2016 and spent four seasons with the club. After transfer speculation, Cannon signed a new four-year deal with FC Dallas in 2020, but the season was put on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. FC Dallas and Cannon did not compete in the MLS is Back Tournament because the team was forced to withdraw after ten players and one staff member tested positive for coronavirus. Then, in September of 2020, Cannon's contract was transferred from FC Dallas to Portuguese side Boavista F.C., where he has played ever since.
Since debuting for the USMNT in 2018, Cannon has appeared in 25 international matches for the senior roster and has scored one goal for the US.
Other USMNT ties to Texas, but more notably Austin FC
Greg Berhalter has multiple ties to the Austin FC program. First, Berhalter's son, Sebastian, played for Austin FC in the club's inaugural season in 2021. He also has ties to the Austin FC coach, Josh Wolff. Wolff served under Berhalter at the Columbus Crew from 2014 to 2018.
Gio Reyna's father, Claudio Reyna, is the Sporting Director for Austin FC. Claudio Reyna is also a former USMNT player in his own right.
Christian Pulisic's cousin, Will Pulisic, is a goalkeeper North Carolina FC on a loan from Austin FC.
World Cup Information
On April 1, the Final Draw for the 2022 FIFA World Cup will take place in Doha, Qatar. This event is where fans and teams find out their paths to possible glory in the tournament. For more information on the final draw, click here.
The 2022 World Cup kicks off on Nov. 21 and lasts until Dec. 18.