Andrew Beltre: The American Men’s National Team Midfielder

Andy Scholes walks through US Soccer’s landmark equal pay deal with the United States women’s national team.

The first thing you need to know about American men’s national team midfielder Andrew Beltre is that he is not your average MLS player. He plays in a distinct position, is very disciplined, and gets the most out of his kit. Beltre has a very interesting story to be added to the team’s lore.

The 23-year-old Beltre currently plays for Seattle Sounders in Major League Soccer and has a strong connection to the United States national team. Now, he’s working with US Soccer to help establish equal pay for both the men’s and women’s national teams.

Beltre had an interesting conversation with USA TODAY Sports about his motivation and background. He talked about a time where he thought everyone was acting like soccer “isn’t real,” and what it was like growing up a pro.

Andrew Beltre’s journey as a professional footballer started in 2004 when he played for the Chicago Fire.

It was a time when people weren’t that familiar with professional football.

“My parents were very traditional,” Beltre told USA TODAY Sports. “My parents never really spoke about football in front of me, to be honest [they] never really ever tried to educate me with football.

“It’s funny to see how far I’ve come because I wasn’t really educated about the game and how many moves you make in football. But I started playing as a 14-year-old and I think I was 15 or 16. I was one of those kids who always played soccer – I loved soccer – because it was easier, because I don’t have to worry about school, I didn’t have to worry about the fact I was playing soccer the next day.

“I would make my soccer friends out of school so, you know, they used to make it a point when they played soccer that they would just call me Andrew because I don’t really have anybody else’s name.”

That was it. That was his name.

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