U.S. Soccer’s Acosta and his Japanese heritage

In Kellyn Acosta’s World Cup debut Nov. 21 against Wales, the midfielder fouled Wales player, Gareth Bale, to prevent him from scoring a winning goal and helped the United States Men’s National Team draw 1-1, Yahoo! reported.

The U.S. Men’s National Team eventually got eliminated in the World Cup by the Netherlands Dec. 3.

Acosta, who is the first Japanese American soccer player to play for the U.S. Men’s National Team per Yahoo!, said in an interview with MLSsoccer.com that “my Japanese background comes from my dad’s side of the family. My dad is actually half Japanese.”

The Los Angeles FC midfielder added his father was born in Japan and his father’s first language is Japanese. He was previously able to visit the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo with his father and grandmother to learn more about his culture and Japanese American history.

“Having and sharing those moments with them was really special, and part of it was super powerful because I learned a lot. Learning about the internment camps during WWII was also something new for me and was really sad to see,” Acosta said in the interview.

According to MLSSoccer.com, Acosta is also of African American and Hispanic descent. He added he’s a special case where “I can relate to all groups of people. But I think when we all come together and unite around our diversity, it’s special and what makes us unique as a league and a team.”

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