Pepi: I can start for the USMNT at 2022 World Cup

20211112_Ricardo Pepi_United StatesGetty Images

Ricardo Pepi, the 18-year-old United States men's national team striker who joined Augsburg this week, says he can start for his nation at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

He enjoyed a breakthrough 2021 for club and country, earning a $20 million (€18m/£15m) Bundesliga move from FC Dallas with his consistent goalscoring.

Now, Pepi hopes to take full control of the USMNT's No. 9 role ahead of this winter's tournament.

What has been said?

"Yes, I believe that if I keep working and I keep showing that I have that speciality and I have the work, I believe I can be [the starter]," Pepi told ESPN.

On his recent transfer, he added: "It shows you how valued I am at FC Dallas and the confidence that Augsburg has in me. I wanted to do it this year because I believe I was ready for that next step."

Augsburg director Stefan Reuter said in a statement: "We are delighted that Ricardo has decided to move to FCA despite the interest of numerous top international clubs.

"We are convinced that he will continue to develop in Augsburg and that we will all have a lot of fun together in the years to come."

Pepi's USMNT record

In addition to his 15 goal involvements in 31 MLS appearances last term, Pepi also made his mark under USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter.

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The forward delivered five goal involvements in seven games, including a goal and an assist in his competitive senior debut on September 8 against Honduras.

He has come up in the national team ranks alongside fellow striker Daryl Dike, who has recently moved from MLS to West Brom. How the respective players fare at their new clubs this spring will go a long way in determining their USMNT status as Berhalter solidifies his first-choice lineup.

Further reading