With a match against Iran on Tuesday, Tyler Adams faced the media before what is a geopolitically charged match in the group stage against Iran. Joined by manager Gregg Berhalter, the two representatives of the USMNT faced harsh questioning from rightfully displeased Iranian journalists.

The harangue largely comes as a result of the USMNT media accounts excluding the sigil from the Iranian flag. The emblem, a sign of the Islamic republic, did not appear in the USMNT’s preview of its fixture with Iran. US Soccer later said this was an intentional move. It was a way to support the Mahsa Amini protests currently happening in Tehran. US Soccer later deleted those posts, and it restored the Iranian flag to its official image.

On Monday, USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter and captain Tyler Adams faced the brunt of the criticism from Iranian journalists. Throughout the press conference, Berhalter and Adams both said that the players and coaching staff knew nothing about US Soccer’s posting of the incomplete Iranian flag.

Tyler Adams talks Iran in press conference

Regardless, Tyler Adams, the team captain, answered all questions with poise, respect and honesty. For example, Adams faced a question over his acceptance of representing a country with “so much discrimination against black people in its borders.” Adams, rather than brushing the question aside, took on his leadership role with class.

“There is discrimination everywhere you go. One thing that I have learned, especially from living abroad in the last couple years, and having to fit into different cultures, is that in the US, we are continuing to make progress every single day. Growing up, I grew up in a white family with African American heritage. Through education, I think it is super important.

“It is a process. As long as you see progress, that is the most important thing.”

Berhalter also faces Iranian questions

Berhalter, the main focal point of the entire US operation at the World Cup, took even more questions than Adams. The one that stood out among the rest was a question about why Berhalter has not asked the US government to remove a naval ship in the Persian Gulf near Iran.

Berhalter, like Adams, repeatedly stated they are focused on soccer. In fact, Berhalter repeated a number of times that he is just a soccer coach.

The full 30-minute press conference is available via FIFA.

The United States faces Iran in a win-or-go-home contest on Tuesday beginning at 2PM ET. If the United States loses or draws, it returns home. Iran advances with a win or potentially with a draw.


Guide to World Cup 2022

Here are some resources to help you get the most out of the biggest event in soccer!
TV Schedule: All the info on where and when to watch every game
The Groups: We breakdown each group and all the teams
The Kits: Check out what every team will be wearing on the field this fall
Predictor: Play out every scenario with our World Cup Predictor
World Cup Bracket: Map out the entire tournament, from the groups to the final