Tyler Adams on RB Leipzig, Gregg Berhalter's USMNT and the Value of Leadership
On the new episode of the Planet Fútbol Podcast, SI.com’s Grant Wahl visits 19-year-old U.S. men’s national team midfielder Tyler Adams at his home in New Jersey for a lengthy discussion, including Adams’s thoughts on his move to RB Leipzig in the German Bundesliga on January 1, on Gregg Berhalter’s appointment as the new USMNT coach and on his desire to become the captain of the USMNT.
You can listen to the full conversation in the podcast console below and subscribe to and download the Planet Fútbol Podcast on iTunes. Recent guests include Bill Simmons, ESPN's Katie Nolan, former U.S. women's national team forward Abby Wambach, former U.S. men's national team forward Eddie Johnson, broadcasters Bob Ley and Derek Rae and U.S. goalkeeper Zack Steffen.
Here are some of the best written quotes from the podcast interview:
On whether RB Leipzig officials have given him an indication on whether he’ll get a chance for playing time in the near term:
“Obviously, you have to come in and establish yourself and earn the respect of the players, the coaches and everyone else, but they see me going in there and being an influential piece. So for me it's an opportunity that you can't take for granted, because you have to go there and obviously if you get the opportunity you have to prove to them that you should continue to get opportunities. But for me that's something that I kind of thrive on: Pressure situations and wanting to prove myself.”
On Gregg Berhalter being named the U.S. men’s national team coach:
“The first thing that comes to my mind is excitement, because now you have someone that's going to come in and have a plan on what the next couple years are going to look like before we qualify for the World Cup … it's exciting, because now that we have a coach we know what our identity is going to be without having worked under him once. You look at the Columbus Crew and what they were capable of In possession of the ball, defensively, how they were hard to break down, and just know they were a possession team. When you hear Columbus, you think they're going to try to get the ball and build out of the back, first things first. They’re a team that likes to break down any opponent, no matter how you're playing. Us being one of those teams in New York Red Bulls that has trouble playing against teams like that, because when you want to press, you know you’re going to get opportunities to transition quickly because you are hopefully going to pick off the ball in a good part of the field.
“But at the same time, they're a team that likes to spread the field, and those switches of the ball and how they spread the field can really hurt you, because it’s a lot of dirty running. So now when Gregg comes into this place, the first thing I think of is, O.K., which players fit into the system the best for what he's going to try to do? And I think we have a lot of dynamic pieces that can fit the system well, whether it's wingers out wide with some pace—whether it’s Christian [Pulisic], Timothy Weah, Josh Sargent up top possibly, Bobby Wood—there’s so many different interchangeable pieces, dynamic pieces, that I think will fit his system well.”
On wanting to be the captain of the USMNT someday:
“Accurate. A lot of times, especially working under Chris Armas, who was the captain for a long time for the national team and probably the best player for the national team to never play in the World Cup, unfortunately, I feel that I have a lot of the same leadership qualities that Chris had. As a young player, it's easy to be timid and be scared and not to seize the opportunities in front of you. I'm completely the opposite. I'm fearless. I don't really care what I say to people. Obviously, I want to be on the best terms possible, but I'll do whatever it takes to win a championship. That's the bottom line. If I have to yell at somebody to get the job done and do what we need to, we can make up after the game. But on the field, I'm going to do whatever it takes to win championships. I want to be known as a player that wins championships. At the end of the day, I feel that I can make a case for being the captain. Obviously it’s tough. Being a young player, you have to continue to improve and show that you're playing at a high level and have the right leadership qualities. For every coach that varies. But for me, my eyes are set on that. Why not aim to be a captain of the national team and continue to be an important stable piece for this team?”