USMNT captain Tyler Adams was corrected about his pronunciation of Iran by a journalist, who then asked about discrimination against Black people in the US.
Adams was applauded for his handling of the question and his apology for his mispronunciation.
Adams and US manager Gregg Berhalter were peppered with questions about US-Iran relations ahead of a huge match Tuesday.
Tyler Adams, the captain of the US Men's National Team at the Qatar World Cup, graciously handled a tough question from an Iranian journalist during a press conference Monday.
After first correcting Adams' pronunciation of "Iran" during one of his previous answers, the journalist asked Adams how he felt about representing the US, despite the "discrimination" against Black people.
Adams began by apologizing for mispronouncing the country "eye-RAN," instead of the correct way "EE-rahn," then turned to the question, saying, "There's discrimination everywhere you go."
Adams said that his background - his biological father, who is not a part of his life now, is Black and he grew up in a white family - has helped him learn how to "assimilate." He also referenced the journalist's correction of his pronunciation as an example of a helpful teaching moment.
"I was very easily able to assimilate in different cultures," Adams said. "Not everyone has that ease and that ability to do that. Obviously it takes others longer to understand and through education, I think it's super important - like you just educated me now on the pronunciation of your country.
"It's a process. I think as long as you see progress, that's the most important thing."
Adams has received praise for his handling of a difficult situation.
Adams and USMNT manager Gregg Berhalter were peppered with difficult questions throughout the press conference. Berhalter deflected questions about international politics and the relationship between the US and Iran by saying he and the team were trying to focus on the match ahead.
Iranian state media called for the US team to be kicked out of the World Cup after the US Soccer Federation removed the Islamic Republic emblem from the Iranian flag in a social media post. The move was a gesture of support to Iranian protesters.
The Tuesday match between the US and Iran is a massive one, with the US needing to win outright in order to advance out of Group B and into the knockout stage.