The United States men’s national soccer team (USMNT) has advanced to the Round of 16 of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
But how much of it can be attributed to the players' families?
Here’s a look at some USA players, both past and present, who credit much of their success on the soccer pitch to their families:
Dempsey — the hot-headed, fiery goal scorer for the United States — attributes many of his personal achievements to God and his family. Coming from humble beginnings, Dempsey said that his relationship with God and his family has led to him finding success in the World Cup.
"When I was 12 years old, my life took a turn that would change me forever. My sister [Jennifer] died [from a brain aneurysm] and I was faced with questions about why things happen and what role God played in it all,” he said to The Huffington Post. “For a number of years, I struggled and put distance between God and me. But He was faithful and patient and provided gradual healing and strength."
Looking back at the group stage, Brooks might be one of the most influential players for the United States. His goal to break the deadlock and defeat Ghana was enough to make him a USMNT hero, according to CNN.
Brooks spoke about his mother to US Soccer, too, in a video that looked at his life’s story ahead of joining the World Cup squad.
"My mom, it's the most important person in my life,” Brooks said.
Beasley is the only American player to compete in four World Cups. Maybe that’s because of the healthy meals he’s received around Thanksgiving. US Soccer reported on what different USMNT players eat for the big meal, and Beasley said his mom makes some killer dishes.
“My mom, everyone knows, is famous for macaroni and cheese,” Beasley said to US Soccer. “Our favorite part of the meal is macaroni and cheese. My mom would kill me if I didn’t say that any way! It’s definitely my favorite part. She doesn’t cook it very often now, but when she has a chance to, it truly is the best.”
As one of the most prolific United States soccer players, McBride actually gained a lot of experience because of his mom, who knew the parents of another talented player, Taylor Twellman, according to The American Pitch.
“I have known Taylor for a very long time. One of his grade school teachers was one of my mom’s good friends.”
Almost as popular as the young United States international Julian Green is his father, Jerry Green, who has spoken very heavily about the Greens’ family life and their connection to Germany. In a USA Today article, Jerry Green spoke about how Julian has always loved his family.
“Growing up, Julian’s always liked people. He’s always liked family,” Jerry Green told USA Today. “He loves when family is around. He’s that kind of person. He likes people.”