DOHA, Qatar — Tyler Adams smiled on Sunday night when asked about his earliest days with the United States national soccer team.

It was 2018, and it was slowing down for an odd period. The World Cup Russia. The American team had collapsed in qualifying rounds and was not participating in that year’s tournament. The squad lacked a full-time coach and, in Adams’s mind, a general purpose.

“We had no identity, no game plan,” Adams said. “It was almost just like you were going to national team camp for fun.”

Next Gregg Berhalter arrived. He was hired at the end 2018 and given a blank canvas with a clear mandate: To position the team for success on the next biggest stage. for Many more years ahead. The roster was about to be completely reorganized. It was possible to create an identity and to roll out a game plan.

A United States soccer team has been remade in Berhalter’s image will play its opening match at the World Cup — its first game in the tournament since 2014 — and all the planning and theorizing and charactering-building of the past four years will finally be put to the test.

“We’re pleased with how this group has been rebuilt,” Berhalter After his team had gathered in Doha last Wednesday, he said. “We’re pleased with the core of this team. We think the core of this team has a ton of potential. And we’re just excited to get the tournament started.”

The matchup against Wales was a long-awaited event. BerhalterA former defender, who has played for clubs in the United States, England, Germany and the Netherlands, he sometimes seems impatient over the past week. for It is coming.

Veteran of two World Cups as a player BerhalterWhen asked by a questioner, he was 49 years old, he replied that he had some wisdom to share with his players in order to help them prepare. for This tournament was intense. His answer: Not much.

“We can say anything we want, and I can give them any type of experience I’ve had,” He stated. “But I know this group, and they’re not really going to know until the whistle blows against Wales.”

There is perhaps not too much more to say at this point, he knows, because he has had the players’ undivided attention since 2018. He already has instilled his soccer philosophy and other motivational mantras into them, as well as a constant push to get them to play better. “change the way the world sees U.S. Soccer.”

Berhalter As an evangelist, took over the programming for Possession-based soccer is the style he used with great success as a coach for the Columbus Crew in Major League Soccer. In recognition of the fact that his players are young and athletic, and that their skills are still being developed, he has changed his style to be more pressing and forward-looking.

His own colorful character has also been reflected in the details. He has used his sideline as a runway for An impressive collection of expensive and rare sneakers. His propensity to be a good sport. for His habit of throwing all kinds of basketball-style bounce balls to his players during games has made him a household name. an internet inside joke among U.S. fans. He has displayed a dry, friendly humor and a professorial manner in his interactions with players and journalists.

On a FaceTime call this month with Weston McKennie, a midfielder who plays with Juventus in Italy’s top league, Berhalter McKennie was informed by McKennie using an Italian accent. World Cup team.

“Ciao, McKennie!” Berhalter In a moment that was captured on camera and shared in the team’s promotional campaign for The tournament.

DeAndre Yedlin (29), is the only member of the team who has any experience in the tournament, having played in the 2014 World CupThis summarizes the effectiveness of Berhalter’s coaching style in two points.

The first was an almost exhaustive approach to maximizing performance — employing data, sports science, psychology and various other modern tools — and entrusting the players to accept and digest those reams of information.

“He’s so detailed, and you know how he wants every little thing done,” Yedlin spoke out in an interview months ago. World Cup.

The second was his friendliness. He is a so-called players’ coach, procuring buy-in from players for He established a level of trust and comfort in his overall project.

“We can make suggestions — maybe there’s too many meetings, maybe we need some time off in the afternoons, maybe we’d like to wear a certain thing — and he’ll have a conversation with us,” Yedlin stated. “It’s not, ‘Oh, players, you decide.’ It’s not, ‘Hey, coaches or staff, you decide.’ It’s, ‘Let’s meet in the middle and decide on something that works for all of us.’”

Adams is an example of this. On Sunday, he was announced as the team’s captain for The tournament. These four years have been the best. Berhalter Used a rotating cast captains for different games. However, before you can play the World CupHe consulted several team leaders about the position and they all expressed preference. for One captain will be allowed for The tournament. Adams was chosen by 35 players who voted.

Adams praised Adams’ work on Sunday Berhalter had done to mold the team’s identity after taking over for Dave Sarachan, who had served as the team’s interim coach after Bruce Arena resigned in the wake of the 2018 qualifying disaster. Sarachan is widely praised by current players and coaching staff. for He has demonstrated his ability to manage a difficult situation with a steady hand. Berhalter’s team.

“Now you have a coach that comes in and tactically understands the game better than almost every coach that I’ve ever had,” Adams stated that Adams was Berhalter. “And he puts a plan in place of really wanting to develop the players, these young players, giving them the opportunity and having that belief in them, and that was different than what U.S. Soccer had done in the past.”

Berhalter’s first task, though, was doing what the United States had always come to expect — reaching the World Cup. That was done by him and the players. They’ll now see how far they get. Berhalter’s blueprint can take them.