Tyler Adams ready to 'contribute' after long USMNT absence

USMNT Adams: My mentality hasn't wavered through injury recovery (1:13)

Tyler Adams talks about what he learned through the rehab process after his long-term hamstring injury. (1:13)

United States captain Tyler Adams thinks he can play at least 45 minutes when he returns to the national team for the first time since the 2022 World Cup for a Concacaf Nations League semifinal against Jamaica on Thursday.

Adams tore his right hamstring in training with Leeds United in March 2023 and was limited to one match and 21 minutes over the next year. He returned Sept. 27 and reinjured the leg in his Bournemouth debut, requiring a second operation. Adams made it back on the field last week, playing 20 minutes against Luton Town.

The rehab process was a long and enduring one, Adams said Monday during a videoconference from training camp in Arlington, Texas, after being called into Gregg Berhalter's Nations League team.

"You learn a lot about yourself in those tough moments because in those moments there's no headlines about you. There's no people talking about you anymore," Adams said. "All of a sudden, you, like, fall off a cliff and you're kind of irrelevant in that moment.

"But for me I kind of enjoyed that, if I'm being completely honest with you, after such a whirlwind of a season, after the World Cup, after everything, my world kind of flipped upside down for a brief moment. And being injured I just had a moment to regroup."

A 25-year-old midfielder from Wappinger, New York, Adams played every minute of the Americans' four World Cup matches and impressed with his respectful and unflappable demeanor when asked political questions at a news conference ahead of the game against Iran.

"Tyler is obviously a huge part of this team, a huge part of our culture," goalkeeper Matt Turner said.

Adams made his U.S. debut in 2017 and has 36 international appearances, providing steadiness in a defensive midfield role and forming the core of this generation of American players with Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie.

He had just played for Leeds on March 11 last year when he ruptured his hamstring while making a backheel pass in training ahead of a March 18 match against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

"Doesn't really happen that you end up rupturing your hamstring in that way," Adams said. "Then I had surgery maybe a week later. Injured it eight weeks in, again passing the ball, which doesn't happen frequently. Waited 12 weeks again. Did it again passing the ball, then had another operation and then now here we are."

Leeds was relegated to the second-tier Championship in Adams' absence and he transferred to Bournemouth in August.

Adams missed 10 national team matches with the full player pool, but the U.S. will now be close to full strength for the match at AT&T Stadium. The winner advances to the championship Sunday against Mexico or Panama.

"It's not obviously come flying out of the gates, but, yeah, I know I can contribute 45 to 60 minutes," he said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.