It's a moment that Ricardo Clark said he has dreamed of from the time he was a little boy playing soccer in the backyard of his home in Jonesboro.
The World Cup.
Clark, 27, has played for the United States 26 times, including in several international competitions, but this will be the first time that he has been capped, the soccer term for playing, in sports' biggest tournament.
A defensive midfielder, Clark plays professionally for Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany's top division, Bundesliga A. Before he moved to Europe in January, he played six years in Major League Soccer, most recently for Houston.
When his contract expired, he negotiated a six-month deal with Eintracht with a three-year option. The team picked up the option in May.
Clark played at St. Pius and at Furman, where he played with U.S. teammate Clint Dempsey. He got the attention of several teams in last summer's Confederations Cup in South Africa, where the U.S. team advanced to the finals. He parlayed that into his deal with Eintracht.
Clark is one of several players competing for a starting spot on the U.S. squad that will open against England on June 12. He didn't have the best of showings in 45 minutes of action in a friendly against Turkey on May 29, but few players did. After falling behind 1-0, the U.S. team rallied to win 2-1. It's that potential that Clark said excites him.
"It's a good mix of experience and youth, players that have been in previous World Cups and other players that are fresh," he said.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.