Friday Newsletter: The USMNT's Exclusive 'Cut Man
New York City-Area Barber Has Earned So Much Trust From USMNT Players That They Pay to Fly Him Out to Them During Every World Cup Qualifying Window
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — David Marulanda is ready for his call-up to the national team. When the USMNT gathers in Houston on Sunday and Monday ahead of this week’s huge rivalry game with Mexico and two more pivotal World Cup qualifiers, one of the U.S.’s secret weapons against Mexico will be there, too.
Marulanda, the Bronx-born proprietor of the Authentic Hair Studio outside New York City, has earned so much trust from the U.S. players that they now pay for him to fly out with his right-hand man, Sebastián Morales, and cut everyone’s hair at each national team camp. When I visited Marulanda on Thursday at his barber shop—complete with framed and signed jerseys of Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie and the entire U.S. team—he told the story of how he became the USMNT’s most trusted ‘cut man.
It all started ahead of the U.S. game against Mexico in the Gold Cup final in Las Vegas last August. Marulanda, whose clients include most of the players for MLS champion New York City, sent a text to City goalkeeper Sean Johnson congratulating him and the U.S. on making the final.
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“Thank you, homie, I appreciate it,” Marulanda says Johnson told him, adding: “Man, I wish you were here this way, because we all look a mess, and we need to play in this final. And we don’t know a barber in Vegas.”
“You just say the word, man, and I’m there,” the barber told him.
“Bro, are you serious? You’ll really come?”
“Yeah. Make it happen.”
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