Following the results of Tuesday's election, Michael Bradley spoke on the current political climate and its effect on the USMNT's key matchup with Mexico on Friday.
Ahead of Wednesday morning training, captain Bradley talked at length, urging the American people to treat their Mexican rivals with respect: “I would hope that our fans do what they always do, which is support our team in the best, most passionate way possible,” said Bradley.
“I would hope that they give every person in that stadium the respect that they deserve, whether they're American, Mexican, neutral, men, women, children. I would hope that every person who comes to the stadium comes ready to enjoy what we all want to be a beautiful game between two sporting rivals that – again – have a lot of respect for each other. I hope that it's a special night in every way.”
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New Jersey native Bradley says he stayed up late to track the election results: “The whole thing has been incredibly captivating. I followed it closely.”
Named as the starting goalkeeper for the Mexico match, fellow NJ native Tim Howard says he didn't vote, or watch the election. He went to bed. “They count the votes and they tell me who’s president in the morning,” he said. “I wouldn’t have voted for Trump if I voted, but there it is.”
“Some guys [on the team] are more into politics than others. I’m not.”
When asked whether Trump’s comments about Mexico will amp things up in Columbus, Howard said: “They are going to be excited hopefully for a U.S. win. It’s politics and this is football. Mexico is going to try to kick our asses and we’re going to try to kick theirs. It’s got nothing to do with politics.”
Bradley also called for unity: “Given the way everything has gone the last few months, I think there is an added layer to this game,” the 29-year-old father of two opined. “But my general feeling is that we as Americans, we trust our system, we respect our democracy and – regardless of your beliefs, regardless of how you voted – we have an obligation to come together, to get behind our new president and to have faith and trust that he will do what's best for the entire country. That's what we've always done.”
Newly minted 18-year-old Christian Pulisic was also asked about the election results, saying he could've registered to vote, but abstained: “I thought, ‘Why? I’m not voting for either of these candidates,’ so I didn’t get to it.”
He went on to say he was asked about the election often back in Germany, where he plays with Borussia Dortmund.
“Europeans are interested, and they are thinking, ‘What’s going on with this whole election thing?’ They ask me about it, yeah, simple stuff like, ‘Is this a joke?’ And I am like, ‘No, I think Donald Trump is really running for president. He has a real chance.’”
Watch the U.S. men's national team take on Mexico from Crew Stadium in Columbus on Friday at 7:45 p.m. ET on FS1 or FOX Sports GO.