- Jesús Ferreira was born in Colombia, but he will represent the USA at the Qatar World Cup.
- He spoke to Insider about his hopes for the tournament and his father, former Colombia international David Ferreira.
- “Having the opportunity to represent my country is a dream come true,” he said.
It was 2010 when midfielder David Ferreira won the MLS’ Most Valuable Player award.
During the regular season, he scored eight goals and added 13 assists for FC Dallas, helping the team to reach the MLS Cup, where it was beaten by Colorado.
Roll forward 12 years, and another Ferreira, his son Jesús, is making similar waves in Texas.
Born in Colombia, Jesús moved to the United States at age 8, when his father first joined Dallas in 2009. During the 2022 MLS season, the younger Ferreira scored 18 goals for Dallas – a total that saw him finish third in the league’s scoring charts.
His performances saw him collect the MLS Young Player of the Year award and helped Dallas to its best finish in six seasons.
While Jesús may be following in his father’s footsteps in MLS, he’s gone in the opposite direction when it comes to international soccer.
Unlike David, who made 39 appearances for Colombia, Jesús opted to represent the United States in 2019, when he was granted US citizenship. He’s since made 15 appearances for the men’s senior team, scoring seven goals, and last week was named to Gregg Berhalter’s 23-man squad for the World Cup in Qatar.
“Playing at a World Cup and having the opportunity to represent my country is a dream come true for me,” Jesús, who recently became an ambassador for Cheribundi, a cherry juice performance aid, told Insider.
“It’s every player’s dream to play in a World Cup and I’m fortunate enough to have this chance.”
While as a child, Jesús said he dreamed of representing Colombia, that changed as time passed in America, where he went to high school and attended United States Soccer Federation youth camps.
Choosing to represent the US internationally was a difficult decision, said Jesús, but one that his father fully supported.
“My father has been a big influence on my career and is extremely supportive and ecstatic that I’ve received the call up with the squad,” he said.
“We’ve spoken over the years about his experiences [for Colombia] and the success he had there, it’s always been an inspiration to me, [but] I’m looking forward to carving my own path at this tournament and throughout the rest of my career.”
Carving his own legacy is certainly something Ferreira can do in Qatar.
The 21-year-old is likely to lead the line for the USMNT at the tournament, where it will face Wales, England, and finally Iran in Group B.
“I just want to make an impact any way that I can to help the team succeed,” he said. “We have a really tough group with three talented teams in there.
“It might sound like a cliché, but we really are just trying to take it one game at a time.”
The USMNT struggled in qualifying for Qatar, winning just seven of its 14 matches and beating Costa Rica to the third and final CONCACAF automatic qualification spot on only goal differential.
Having missed out on qualifying for the previous World Cup in Russia in 2018, the USMNT also lack vital experience on soccer’s biggest stage. Only one member of the current squad, DeAndre Yedlin, has ever played in a World Cup.
But what the team lacks in experience, Ferreira said it makes up for in talent.
Many on Berhalter’s young squad play in Europe’s top five leagues, including Borussia Dortmund’s Gio Reyna, Chelsea FC’s Christian Pulisic, AC Milan’s Sergiño Dest, and Juventus’ Weston McKennie.
“We’ve got an incredibly talented group of guys on this team,” said Ferreira. “Lots of us have come through the MLS whereas others have played in Europe. It’s a great mix.
“Everyone has different attributes that they bring to the table to help the team achieve our goal. We have full trust in one another.”