Different athletes have different goals in their careers, but the two constants are a desire to win championships and to represent their respective nations.
Twenty-two-year-old Earthquakes midfielder Jackson Yueill got that opportunity on Wednesday evening in Washington D.C. Despite his omission from the preliminary Concacaf Gold Cup roster, Yueill had impressed the USMNT coaches enough to warrant a surprise call for Wednesday’s friendly against Jamaica, which fortunately was played in the same stadium the Quakes had just competed in four days prior.
Not only was Yueill added to the roster, he was chosen to start in the center of the American’s midfield alongside Wil Trapp, who is one of the veterans on this squad.
Fox Sports commentators John Strong and Stu Holden had a few kind words to say about the Quakes player.
“One player who’s out there who’s not eligible for [the Gold Cup] is Jackson Yueill of the San Jose Earthquakes, making his national team debut,” said Strong in the opening minutes of Wednesday’s friendly. “He was not on the 40-man preliminary list so he’s not eligible to play at the Gold Cup, but a guy that [head coach Gregg] Berhalter told us yesterday they’ve just been really impressed by.”
Holden then added, “Yeah, what a statement to include a guy in a friendly two games before the Gold Cup starts that isn’t even eligible.”
Yueill was a solid contributor in his 59 minutes, calmly passing the ball around and hitting a few dangerous diagonal balls. An overall lackluster match combined with a stunning Jamaica goal cast a dark shadow on an otherwise impressive first international appearance.
MLSsoccer.com writer Greg Seltzer agreed, giving him a 6.5 rating for his performance, third best among all USMNT players on Wednesday.
Yueill wasn’t the only Earthquakes player to feature in Wednesday’s match, as Nick Lima entered the field as Yueill departed. Lima, 24, has suddenly become a very important member of the USMNT, despite only logging three appearances to date, and will continue to represent the red, white and blue in the Gold Cup.