New York City FC defender James Sands spoke of his pride after making his debut for the United States Men's National Team in the Gold Cup against Haiti on Sunday.
The 21-year-old came on as a second-half substitute during the 1-0 victory and made Club history in the process by becoming the first Homegrown player to represent the United States at senior international level.
"I think making my debut last night I feel proud that I've done it for all the fans that wanted me to be there," Sands told reporters. "Hopefully I can keep showing out and keep impressing, so I can prove those fans right."
Utilized as part of a back-three by Head Coach Gregg Berhalter, Sands revealed his time with the Boys in Blue prepared him well for his debut.
“It's good to be able to switch between [tactical] systems," he added. "We do that in New York pretty well, and I think with the national team, being versatile, about being in a back four or back five will really help the team going forward. I think when we're in a back five, there's a role for me in the middle of that. But, at this point, it's just about trying to get on the field when I can and make sure I'm being a good teammate and helping the guys around me.
“Under Domè [Torrent], we did it [played in a back three] a lot and I developed a lot as a player. Especially last year under Ronnie, a bit this year as well, he's really been pushing me to take control of games and set the tempo. Those are all things that the middle center-back in the back three has complete control over. I definitely think my time in New York has helped me get ready for the national team.”
The U.S. continues its participation in the Gold Cup on Thursday, July 15, with a game against Martinique, with kick-off scheduled for 9:30 PM ET.