Cameron Carter-Vickers has been destined for a major sporting stage for a long time.
His father, Howard Carter, was a first-round NBA draft pick out of LSU in 1983 and moved to Europe to play after two seasons. While abroad, he met an Englishwoman who went on to be his wife, and they gave birth to a son.
Naturally, given the setting, that son picked soccer over basketball. And he was so good at it that Tottenham Hotspur, one of England’s biggest clubs, brought him into their academy at age 11.
Five years later, a U.S. national team scout spotted Cameron when Tottenham’s youth team came to America for a tournament. Upon learning he had a U.S. passport, the U.S. team started recruiting him. Cameron signed on and became a youth national team stalwart. He played for the U.S. at the 2015 and 2017 Under-20 World Cups and was on the U.S. under-23 team that failed to qualify for the 2016 Olympics.
Despite that setback, Carter-Vickers got his first senior national team call-up in 2016. He made his first appearance in a game last November. If he plays against Bolivia on Monday at Talen Energy Stadium (6:55 p.m., Fox Sports 1 and UniMás), it will be his third cap.
“When I got the call-up, I was delighted,” Carter-Vickers said. “Any opportunity to represent your country, you always look forward to it, and I can’t wait to get going.”
He is expected to be one of the starting centerbacks in Monday’s game, and his likely partner is Matt Miazga, someone he knows well. Carter-Vickers and Miazga played together on youth national teams and now ply their professional trades for English Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea.
Or at least they do in theory. Both players spent this past European season on loan to other clubs. Miazga played for the Netherlands’ Vitesse Arnhem for the second straight year while Carter-Vickers split the season between English second-tier clubs Sheffield United and Ipswich Town.
That led to a lot of moving, but Carter-Vickers played 31 games.
“Changing midway through the season definitely exposed me to different types of football and different coaches,” he said. “It definitely helped me as a player and helped me improve.”
Carter-Vickers hopes to make it onto Tottenham’s roster next season. The club gave him a vote of confidence last week, extending his contract through 2021.
“In the long run, I want to be a Tottenham player,” he said. Whether that’s next season or the season after, or the season after that. But I definitely feel like this season I’ve improved, and have a lot of experience under my belt.”
Carter-Vickers also wants to be a U.S. national team player, though his English accent probably isn’t going anywhere. He visits his father in Louisiana for a few weeks every summer, but that’s usually the only time he gets to spend in the U.S.
Now he gets to play in America and on a team with familiar faces.
“I feel like with a young group, we’re fearless.” he said. “Everyone here I know really well. … We definitely know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and we know how to play with each other.”