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Christian Pulisic headlines USMNT roster for World Cup qualifiers

Jun 6, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; United States forward Christian Pulisic (10) celebrates with midfielder Weston Mckennie (8) after converting a penalty kick in extra time against Mexico during the 2021 CONCACAF Nations League Finals soccer series final match at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 6, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; United States forward Christian Pulisic (10) celebrates with midfielder Weston Mckennie (8) after converting a penalty kick in extra time against Mexico during the 2021 CONCACAF Nations League Finals soccer series final match at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The U.S. Men’s National Team will open camp Monday with a 26-man roster headlined by Christian Pulisic.

U.S. Soccer released the roster Thursday, which also includes Ricardo Pepi, who chose to play for the United States instead of Mexico.

A forward, Pulisic tested positive for COVID-19 nearly two weeks ago while with Chelsea of the Premier League and quarantined, despite being fully vaccinated. He will be eligible to join his American teammates when camp opens.

The 2022 World Cup is scheduled to be played Nov. 21-Dec. 17 in Qatar. The United States men did not qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

The United States will have little time to prepare before qualifying matches begin. The USMNT will open World Cup qualifying with three matches next month: Sept. 2 at El Salvador, Sept. 5 vs. Canada in Nashville, and Sept. 8 at Honduras.

Pepi, 18, is a rising star. The FC Dallas forward will be making his debut with U.S. senior national team. As a dual national, he could have played for Mexico.

“This country has given my family so many opportunities and it really has helped me achieve my goals,” he told the FC Dallas website. “What better way to help them by hopefully one day lifting up a World Cup? I feel warmly welcomed and I can’t wait to show that I deserve to be here.”

And coach Gregg Berhalter, who shared his vision for the team with Pepi, undoubtedly is happy to have him as part of the team he is trying to build.

“We have spent the last two years building the foundation and culture of the team for this moment,” Berhalter said. “World Cup qualifying is a grueling challenge that demands a complete group effort in order to be successful. We are confident in our ability to respond to the challenges that are presented along the way.”

Other notables on the roster include attacker Gio Reyna and midfielders Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams.

The full roster, with their current club and country, plus caps and goals:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Ethan Horvath (Nottingham Forest/England; 7/0), Zack Steffen (Manchester City/England; 23/0), Matt Turner (New England Revolution; 7/0)

DEFENDERS (10): George Bello (Atlanta United; 3/0), John Brooks (Wolfsburg/Germany; 43/3), Sergino Dest (Barcelona/Spain; 11/1), Mark McKenzie (Genk/Belgium; 6/0), Tim Ream (Fulham/England; 45/1), Antonee Robinson (Fulham/Eng;and; 12/0), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United; 9/3), James Sands (New York City FC; 6/0), DeAndre Yedlin (Galatasaray/Turkey; 64/0), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; 17/2)

MIDFIELDERS (5): Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; 37/2), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig/Germany; 14/1), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 29/7), Weston McKennie (Juventus/Italy; 24/7), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders; 25/0)

FORWARDS (8): Brenden Aaronson (RB Salzburg/Austria; 7/3), Konrad de la Fuente (Olympique Marseille/France; 1/0), Jordan Pefok (BSC Young Boys/Switzerland; 6/1), Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas; 0/0), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/England; 38/16), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund/Germany; 8/4), Josh Sargent (Norwich City/England; 16/5), Tim Weah (Lille/France; 13/1)

–Field Level Media