After one magical play, 27-year-old midfielder Graham Zusi has been thrust into the spotlight.
With a deft corner kick, Zusi set up the goal that sent the U.S. team to victory over Ghana, and its World Cup fans into a frenzy, reports CBS News' Elaine Quijano.
"It was just pure elation," said Zusi. "One of the happiest moments of your life. To celebrate with your teammates along with your country is an awesome feeling."
Among the estimated 20,000 U.S. spectators in the stadium was Zusi's mother, Shirley. One fan captured the player's moment and a mother's joy.
"I think she kissed about four people she didn't know. So it was cool to see all those fans, who obviously don't know each other, celebrating together as if they'd known each other for years and years," Zusi said.
Outside of die-hard soccer fans, Graham Zusi is largely unknown, but the Florida native has won at the highest levels and has played some of his best soccer when the lights have been brightest.
He won two national championships at the University of Maryland, scoring the winning goal for the Terrapins in the 2008 title game. After college, he joined Sporting KC, the Major League Soccer team based in Kansas City. Last year, he was voted MVP of his team and led the club to the 2013 MLS Cup. Not bad for a guy who considers himself a rugged player
"I'm kind of that blue collar midfielder," Zusi said. "Not always on the end of things scoring the goals, but more so the guy setting up the forwards."
Leading up to the World Cup, Zusi created plenty of goals for the U.S. national team. It even sparked one sports blog to dub Zusi "America's silent weapon," not only for his skill but humility.
"I'm not the most popular person or enjoys being the limelight, if you will, but I like think that I can be a dangerous player at any time," he said.
He'll have to be on his game Sunday against a Portuguese team led by one of the sport's biggest stars, Cristiano Ronaldo.
"We know the threat they pose as a team. And we know they have Cristiano who at the moment is the best player in the world but we focus just on him, they have 10 other guys on the field that can punish you," Zusi said. "I think we have all the confidence in the world in each other and are looking to make history down here."
Zusi didn't start in the last game versus Ghana, but obviously he made the most of his time on the field. He said he won't know until Sunday if he'll start against Portugal.