USMNT’s Greg Berhalter says players’ message to Congress about gun use measures is about stopping “needless” violence

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Head coach of the men’s national soccer team Greg Berhalter has expressed his support for his players who have called on Congress to take action in the wake of a wave of mass shootings in the country.

The players called on lawmakers Sunday to vote in favor of tougher gun control measures as part of the team’s “Be the Change” campaign. Berhalter praised his players after the team drew with Uruguay in preparations for the World Cup.

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Head coach Greg Berhalter watches an international friendly soccer match against Uruguay on Sunday, June 5, 2022 in Kansas City, Kansas.
(Associated Press/Charlie Riddell)

“First of all, starting from outside football, I am really proud of the entire group today for the message that has been sent to everyone in Congress calling for action,” Berhalter said. “Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in our little world of what we’re doing and forget what’s going on in the outside world. This group definitely didn’t. I’ve seen the orange lettering and armbands – everyone is totally tired of it.”

“It’s good that this group is asking for action and asking people to make a change.” Be the change ‘something we’ve been a part of for a while now and that’s just applying it to another area.

“…It’s not just about the mass shootings you see every day, but it’s about the unnecessary violence with firearms and children and people dying every day.”

Uruguay forward Facundo Pellistri and American defender Walker Zimmerman compete for the ball on Sunday, June 5, 2022 in Kansas City, Kansas.

Uruguay forward Facundo Pellistri and American defender Walker Zimmerman compete for the ball on Sunday, June 5, 2022 in Kansas City, Kansas.
(Associated Press/Charlie Riddell)

The website for the 2026 FIFA World Cup is due to be announced next month

In the speech, the players told Congress that bills are on the table to address the issue of gun control.

“Our ability to effect change is limited, but yours is not,” the letter read. “You can vote this week to address gun violence in America, and in fact, you will be given that opportunity. In the coming days, the US House of Representatives is voting on several bills that will address this serious issue. Please vote yes on all bills under consideration.”

Players specifically referred to the Texas school shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers.

Uruguay striker Facundo Pellistri and United States midfielder Luca de la Torre chase the ball on Sunday, June 5, 2022 in Kansas City.

Uruguay striker Facundo Pellistri and United States midfielder Luca de la Torre chase the ball on Sunday, June 5, 2022 in Kansas City.
(Associated Press/Charlie Riddell)

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“Please stop choosing campaign contributions to children’s lives,” the letter continued. “Stop being guided by the misguided idea that voting on gun reform legislation—or even refusing to talk about it in the first place—will get you out of office. Instead, do what is necessary to prevent this from happening again.”

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