Skip to main content

This article originally appeared in the April 13th issue of our newsletter, The Raven. Subscribe HERE

As the conersation surrounding the USMNT shifts from eulogy to born-again, Cameron Carter-Vickers is a name you hear a lot. Tottenham’s 6’1”, 200-pound, former high school shot putter has been tapped as the U.S.’s heir apparent at center back, a position that’s been in constant flux since the Bocanegra dynasty fell in 2012. CCV is English born, but eligible to represent Rog’s new home country via his father, former NBA first round-draft pick Howard “Hi-C” Carter.

This January, as I struggled to stay awake during another decaffeinated Championship season for my beloved Ipswich Town, CCV provided me a shot of espresso, signing a loan deal at Portman Road. To see an up-and-coming USMNT’er ply their trade in East Anglia has given me a great thrill, even if the team’s results haven’t. I recently had the chance to talk with CCV via phone, and as great as the temptation was to do a deep dive on all things Tractors, including Mick McCarthy’s impending departure, I figured GFOPs would be more interested in other topics, like the future of the USMNT and Spurs. Here are a few of my takeaways from our conversation:

There’s a sense of optimism and familiarity among the USMNT’s young crop.
CCV earned his first full cap against Portugal in November, coming on as a halftime sub in a 1 - 1 draw. He then played a rough and tumble, but composed 90 minutes in a 1 - 0 victory over Paraguay in March. He told me his pre-existing relationship with members of the back four in that game (DeAndre Yedlin, Matt Miazga and Jorge Villafaña) helped quell nerves. “There was a good energy. Everyone was working together. We were with each other and behind each other.” CCV and Miazga, who is currently on loan from Chelsea to Vitesse in the Netherlands, paired together in the 2015 U-20 World Cup and keep in touch via text while at their respective clubs, according to CCV. It sounds like this type of connection is common among the young players called into these last two U.S. camps. “A lot of the guys played together before, so we know each other and have a connection on and off the field. We’re all hungry. We’re all pushing each other.” Loving again so soon after being burnt is tough, but it’s hard for USMNT fans not to find this encouraging.

CCV was born and raised in Britain, but he’s got some Bayou in him.
CCV’s dad is from Louisiana and played hoops at LSU before turning pro and playing in the NBA, and then in Europe. During summer holidays growing up, CCV visited his dad’s family in Baton Rouge. “I used to think it was so hot, that was my first impression.” He also told me about the commingling of accents, Essex and Cajun. “My dad’s family have pretty strong southern accents. Sometimes when they talk a bit faster, or it’s a big group of them talking, I have to concentrate to understand. I also have to slow down a bit and talk a bit clearer for them sometimes.” Lost in translation moments aside, it is clear CCV takes a lot of pride in representing the U.S. “I’ve always been very close with my dad and my family in the States. Every time I get to play for America, no matter what level it’s at, I feel like it’s an honor.” You definitely get a sense that America means more to CCV than just an opportunity to play international football. There seems to be a bonafide connection.

He hopes this season’s Championship experience leads to bigger and better for club and country.
Before Ipswich, CCV spent the first half of the season on loan at Sheffield United, another Championship side. As of this writing, he’s made a combined 30 appearances for the two clubs, most of them coming in the league, one that often blurs the line between football and pugilism. “We play two or three times a week. Sometimes there’s not much rhythm to the game. It's quite fast-paced, end to end, so you have to be ready to work hard, get up and down the pitch, and get ready for the battle.” CCV said he thinks the experience has made him a more consistent player. “Playing against full grown men every week helps.” While he keeps regular contact with Kyle Walker-Peters and Harry Winks at Spurs, his main connection to his parent club comes via a coach who attends his games and sends reports of each performance home from the front. “I’ve got to impress the managers, and hopefully get into the club next year. Then take it from there. It would be great to play big games in the Champions League, big games in the Premier League.” As for his country, all eyes are on Qatar 2022. “The next qualifying campaign is massive.”