Cannon on FC Dallas death threats; USMNT to make ‘deep’ World Cup run

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Young American right back Reggie Cannon has been speaking about his turbulent departure from FC Dallas in Major League Soccer and how he believes the USMNT can go far at the 2022 World Cup.

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Cannon, 22, transferred to Boavista in Portugal in the summer, a few weeks after he spoke passionately against the disgusting abuse he and his FC Dallas teammates received from their own fans when they took a knee before a game in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Speaking in a wide-ranging interview to Will Unwin of the Guardian, Cannon discussed the death threats he received after abuse and objects were hurled at them on the pitch when they took a knee alongside Nashville SC for the national anthem.

“It’s such a polarizing issue when you get down to it but we knew we had to do something that would spark conversation and that was the perfect opportunity to do so. People were against violent protest, they were against peaceful protest but they weren’t against any of that, they were against us speaking, us talking to point out the injustices that my people are facing and have been facing for the longest time,” Cannon said.

“That whole situation with Dallas was handled terribly and there were repercussions of it, but my career wasn’t affected by that and I am able to get to the next level in good time. Unfortunately, my safety in America was compromised and that’s the risk you take with pointing out injustices because people are going to disagree. Threatening to kill your family, threatening to show up at your house, threatening to do vulgar things to you, that I can’t say. It is, unfortunately, part of the society that America is today, especially when Trump was in charge. Now we have moved past that.”

Cannon was asked if his moved to Portugal has altered how he views the USA.

“One hundred million percent,” Cannon said. “Looking at the insurrection, Texas freezing over right now … explaining to my teammates what is going on in the country is baffling to me. Explaining the America I have lived in to those who don’t live in America, it feels like I am describing medieval times.”

Cannon has high hopes for USMNT

The defender also revealed that the USMNT believe they can go far at the 2022 World Cup, dismissing the notion that everything is geared up for this talented young group to make a splash at the 2026 World Cup on home soil.

“I think this team can win a lot of trophies. The World Cup is the end goal but first we are focused on the Nations League and friendlies coming up. I think with the talent this group has and the depth we are getting in each position, I think this team can make a deep, deep run in the next World Cup,” Cannon said. “I see a lot of people say 2026 is going to be the big chance for USA considering where it is and everyone having the chance to develop at the biggest clubs, I do believe that but our focus is on the next World Cup, making sure we qualify and get those experiences under the belt. I think it’s going to be huge. This squad has so much quality, playing at some of the world’s biggest clubs, making huge impacts. It just gives motivation to a lot of the young guys to keep going.”

This self-confidence is in line with how many USMNT players are feeling right now.

With Weston McKennie, Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna, Sergino Dest, Tyler Adams, Cannon and many other leading the way for the USMNT as they’re playing in Europe’s top leagues, there is no reason to think they can’t qualify for the 2022 World Cup after the devastation of not making the 2018 edition.

Most USMNT fans would be delighted to just get out of the group stage but Cannon sums up the positive vibes flowing through this young squad.