This is the story of the 19-year-old midfielder, who is preparing for his first World Cup
The story of Yunus Musah is a fascinating one and one worth paying attention to ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The 19-year-old will be at the tournament and he’ll be representing the United States men’s national team, even though there were several other sides he could have played for.
The Valencia midfielder could have played for Ghana, Italy or England, but will represent the country where he was born, as he has explained to MARCA.
“I was born in New York, although I then lived in several different countries in my life,” he explained.
“Many different national teams were interested in me playing for them, so deciding was hard.”
It was on November 29, 2022, that Musah was born in New York, when his parents of Ghanaian nationality were in the city.
But, he then spent his childhood years in Italy, in a town called Castelfranco Veneto, starting to play football there. Those years growing up in Italy meant Musah was also entitled to an Italian passport.
Then, he also spent time in England, setting off aged 10 to play in the Arsenal academy. He stood out for the Gunners and also in some of the England national team youth categories.
Musah was soon on the move again though, deciding to join Valencia in 2019.
“Why did he choose Valencia? Because of his Latin character, as he spoke Italian and he knew that culture,” revealed Pablo Longoria, the current president of Marseille who was previously the technical secretary of Valencia.
“I had been following him since I was working at Juventus, especially since he had an Italian passport, but it was when I was at Valencia that I was able to sign him.
“I knew his talent and physical abilities would allow him to make it to the top.”
As well as deciding which club he wanted to make his senior debut with, Musah also had to decide on his national team.
He opted for the USA, for a variety of reasons, especially the sporting project they presented him and the fact that he could develop his brand more in the USA than in England.
“I was told that there was a kid in Valencia‘s academy with a good talent who was born in New York and had an American passport,” recalled Nico Estevez, an assistant for the USMNT.
“We started talking to him and convinced him to try out for the national team in some friendlies.
“He liked the atmosphere there, but asked for some more time to think. After two months, he said yes.”
Musah has reflected on that decision too and underlined why he picked this national team and not any of the others he was eligible for.
“I picked them because of the project that the USMNT offered me, how the coach explained what they wanted from me, the connection with the values of the country and the potential of their national team.
“I’m proud to be able to represent the citizens of the USA and wear their jersey and I hope I can help bring them great joy and contribute to the growth of football in the country.
“It’s going to be very special to play against England in this World Cup, and that’s going to be a very hard-fought game. It’s going to mean a lot on an emotional level.
“England have given me a lot as a person and as a footballer and I also proudly defended their shirt at youth level.
“I wish them the best of luck in the World Cup, but obviously we want to win the game.
“I hope that we can get people in our country excited, and I hope that this group of players can go as far as possible.
“We know how difficult it is to play in the most important national team competition in the world, but we are not afraid and want the world to enjoy our football.
“On a personal level, I also hope that, although I am very young, I can take a step forward in my career and that the fans of the USA and those of my club, Valencia, will be proud of my performance in this World Cup.”
We’ll soon see how Musah and his teammates do, as the USA take on Wales on November 21, England on November 25 and Iran on November 29.
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