The Hudson Valley has produced a wide range of both financially successful and famous people that call this unique area of New York their home: Emma Roberts, Jimmy Fallon and James Patterson are just a handful of dozens who found fame and fortune in the ever-changing color of the world-renowned foliage. In light of recent events regarding the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which commenced on Sunday, Nov. 20 in Qatar, it seems that a new name has taken the top spot on Hudson Valley’s most-famous list. The freshly-announced captain for the U.S. men’s national soccer team, 23 year-old Wappingers native Tyler Adams, has been making a name for himself as a professional athlete since he was a mere teenager. Not only has he made his way to the big leagues, but he is currently proving to soccer fans around the globe that he is one of the best athletes on the field. Period.
“I knew Tyler was special from the very beginning,” says David Seipp, principal for Roy C. Ketcham High School— Adams’ alma mater. “I remember having these grade-level assemblies, talking to the kids about achieving great things and working toward your goals. Tyler was there for some of them, and I remember saying ‘Look at Tyler. We have a kid who’s on the under 16 national team,’ but he didn’t like that. He didn’t want to be in the spotlight, you know, he just wanted to be a normal teenager. I was always so impressed with how humble he was.”
Not that he had any reason to be humble. Adams had been acting like a professional long before he was one, prioritizing the game ahead of everything else in life. While he started playing for the Red Bulls Academy at the ripe age of 11, traveling two hours each way to New Jersey most days for practice and across the country for games most weekends, he still managed to be a part of Ketcham’s National Honor Society and maintain a high GPA.
“I remember handing Tyler his diploma. Graduation was at 11 o’clock, but I remember being there early at 8 o’clock because Tyler had to get to a Red Bulls game,” says Seipp. “I remember his father and I handing him his diploma, going through graduation. And then we were at the Mill House for a reception afterwards, and turning on ESPN. And there Tyler was, playing for the New York Red Bulls. That was a big, incredible moment for me.”
Five years later, he is still being broadcasted on ESPN, but he is also being highlighted on every international sports channel as the entire world watches and waits patiently to see which country gets to call itself soccer’s premier. As the youngest captain to lead the Americans since 1950, Adams’ innate drive and dedication has given him the perfect platform to lead his team to victory. So far, Adams has brought the Americans to the World Cup’s Round of 16 in their 1-0 win versus Iran on Tuesday. Though they tied with the Americans for their original matchup, England will also be advancing from Group B to the final 16. Adams and his fellow soldiers in red and blue will face off against the Group A winners, the Netherlands, this Saturday at 10 a.m. ET.
As a midfielder, Adams has to be able to play offensively or defensively at the drop of a hat, a skillset he has that sets him apart from other midfielders on the field. “I’ve used a number of Tyler’s games to clip highlights to show my players how good his vision of the field is, how he takes peeks and is always scanning the field,” says Robert Seipp, brother of David and a long-time youth soccer coach in the Hudson Valley. “His physical ability and his skill on the ball are things my high school players simply can’t match, but I try to use Tyler as an example for my players to copy things that they can do like Tyler.”
Although Adams has been traveling internationally to play soccer for nearly a decade, he still finds time to give back to the younger, aspiring soccer players in his community; he is constantly being a role model for athletes both on and off the field. Adams’ stepdad, Darryl Sullivan, went to high school and now works with the Seipp brothers as a teacher at Ketcham, and he helps Adams connect virtually with his students so they can learn from his athletic and interpersonal wisdom.
“Darrell connects students with Tyler and Tyler is very open to that,” says Robert. “He enjoys those conversations that he has with kids and he wants to be a positive role model. He’s always encouraging kids to do the right thing in the classroom. But this is all under the radar, Tyler doesn’t want any attention from this. He doesn’t want any notoriety that this is what he’s doing for families and kids. He just wants to be a part of the community and help people out. We all know that Tyler is a great player, athlete and competitor, but for me, knowing him and knowing his family, he’s a 10 times better person.”
Who could be a better choice than Adams to be representing the United States as captain? They still have a long way to go, but the Americans and Adams alike have been proving time and time again that they always have more tricks up their sleeve, and the next few rounds of this year’s World Cup will be keeping the sports community on the edge of their seats.