NASHVILLE, Tenn. — United States captain Wil Trapp said the team’s Sept. 11 match against rivals Mexico will be “powerful, emotional and exciting” for the team.
On Tuesday, the U.S. will face Mexico in a friendly that will take place at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium (8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN). The day will mark the 17th anniversary of the terrorist attack that saw two jetliners crash into the towers that comprised the World Trade Center, resulting in the collapse of both buildings.
Another plane was also flown into the Pentagon on the same day and a fourth plane crashed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania after passengers thwarted an attempted hijacking. In total, 2,996 people were killed in the attacks.
“Any time you get to play Mexico it’s a special day,” said U.S. captain Wil Trapp. “To be playing on 9/11 is even more powerful, emotional, exciting I think for all of us as players because of what that day means to our country, what it symbolizes in terms of what happened as well as the heroism that came out of it. It will be an exciting game for us as players, there will be a lot of emotions wrapped into it.”
In a bid to drive home the day’s significance, U.S. caretaker manager Dave Sarachan took the players to the 9/11 Memorial in New York City prior to last Friday’s friendly against Brazil.
“It was very powerful,” said Sarachan about the visit during Monday’s news conference. “We all know the ages of these guys, some of them were one year old…some were under the age of six. But I think they walk away from that with a greater understanding of the sacrifice that took place that day, and the game [Tuesday] on 9/11 wont’ be lost on the players.”
Trapp said that visiting the memorial was “an emotional rollercoaster in a lot of ways.” The team was accompanied by first responders who shared their memories of the day, and for Trapp hearing their stories was the most powerful aspect.
“Policemen that were in the rubble, digging people out, it was incredible to talk to them,” said Trapp.
Trapp was eight years old at the time of the attack, and recalled watching what transpired on television before being sent home from school for the day.
“You’re trying to put things together in your mind, but you still don’t understand what’s going on,” he said. “They send you home from school, you talk to your parents about it, and then it starts to take more shape.”
He added, “The power of what happened and how we responded as a people — firefighters, policeman, normal citizens — it just brings a pride to how Americans can rally together and make a terrible day one that we saw the best in people.”
As for what will take place Tuesday, Trapp acknowledged that he and his teammates will be playing a game, but they will also be representing their country on what remains a day fraught with emotion.
He said, “9/11 is such a day that will live in infamy in our country, and our responsibility is to step out onto the field with pride and bravery.”