James Sands says he is ready to take his chance to shine on the international stage.
The midfielder earned a call-up for the US Men’s National Team ahead of this week’s friendly against Mexico, having last featured for the Stars and Stripes in September 2021.
The 22-year-old, who has impressed on his return to New York City since penning a new deal back in March, expressed his delight to have been selected, asserting he is eager to show what he can do.
“It’s good,” Sands said. “I've been out of the National Team for a little bit now, so it's nice to have another opportunity.
“It's just a couple days I'm there, so I just have to give it everything.
“I think I've worked really hard over the last couple months, so I’m very excited.”
Sands heads into Wednesday’s friendly clash on a winning note, having helped the City Boys to a 2-1 win over Nashville SC.
The midfielder shrugged off an injury sustained against Atlanta United to captain the side, and says he has relished the opportunity to test himself against the league’s best players since returning to MLS.
“I really look forward to those sorts of challenges,” he continued,
“That's something that I get here in MLS that I didn't get at all really in Scotland in the league there, so it's a nice change.
“Those guys will get the better of me sometimes, but it’s all about learning.
“I’m still a young player, and I’m trying to improve, so those are night shifts I really look forward to.”
On his injury, he added: “It had bothered me throughout the week, but it’s just a contact injury, so it's just a lot of swelling and fluid in my foot at the minute, but it's a pain tolerance thing really.
“Now that I’m the captain for these games, I feel a bigger responsibility to push through that.”
Saturday’s victory over Nashville proved a memorable one for NYCFC’s USMNT contingent, with Keaton Parks opening the scoring, and Richy Ledezma marking his first MLS start with an assist.
Sands says he has been impressed by his midfield teammates, and says the prospect of playing together for the National Team serves as inspiration for the trio.
“It’s definitely motivating for us,” he stated.
“I thought especially Richy coming in – he’s had his injury struggles in the past, but you see when he’s playing – he’s a top player. Adding him to the group is going to be a big bonus.
“The fact that he’s a young American is nice, and I think we could build chemistry a little bit easier as well.”
NYCFC are on home soil next weekend for the last match of our three-game home stand.
The Boys in Blue welcome FC Dallas to Citi Field on Saturday, April 22 in a 7:30pm ET kick-off.
Tickets for the game are now available. Don't miss your chance to cheer on the City Boys!
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