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Ahead of Friday’s semifinal match at the 2023 Concacaf U17 Championship, Earthquakes Homegrown midfielder Cruz Medina sat down with reporters in a virtual press conference to talk about the United States’ quarterfinal victory over host nation Guatemala, and on qualifying for the U17 World Cup in Peru. The semifinal match will be Friday, Feb 24, at 5pm PST against Canada. 

On his experience playing in the hostile environment against Guatemala:

“I have never played in an environment like that. That was completely different, but that was something that I dream about. I definitely like it, obviously seeing all the fans. There was a point in the game where they flashed all their flashlights, and you could see the whole stadium and it looked like stars. It was amazing to play in that environment. That was something out of this world that I could only dream about.”

On what it means to represent the United States at the Concacaf U17 Championship and to qualify for the U17 World Cup:

“To represent the national team means everything to me. I’m born in the United States so I chose to play here. For me, my family, and the decision we made, it means everything to us. For the World Cup, that is a whole different level. Being here is a step towards something like the World Cup and for us to accomplish that already and to be going to the World Cup, it means everything.”

On maintaining bravery in the tournament and at the future U17 World Cup:

“I think that practice makes perfect. As [coach] Gonzalo said, we train every day and try to master what we learn in training. It is part of our DNA to be relentless and play our style. Building out of the back is one of our points in our DNA. So having the confidence to play and keep going whether we mess up or whatever happens, it is just having the confidence to forget about it and move on to the next play.”

On what the team needs to continue doing well to win the Concacaf tournament:

“It is like what Gonzalo said, just flip the page. We qualified for the World cup, that was our first goal, now we just have to forget about that. The next game is either Puerto Rico or Canada, and it is just us keeping our feet on the ground, staying humble, and being ready for the next game and hopefully the next two.”

On staying focused with the team’s success gaining more attention:

“It is trying not to look too much into the attention. I am not perfect so there is going to be bad and good games, but try not to look in too much. It has been a really big year for me, signing my first professional contract and being with the national team. I’m just keeping my head down and playing. After every game I call my brother and talk to him about how I did, and he is pretty much the only person who I’ll ask how I did. Social media is a whole different thing and I try not to look into that too much.”