Goalkeeper Sean Johnson is interviewed by Taylor Twellman during the USMNT World Cup roster reveal party at Brooklyn Steel.  (John Jones-USA TODAY Sports)

By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

BROOKLYN – The wait was probably the hardest part.

When will he call?

Will I walk away from my phone and miss it?

What is he going to say?

Would it be good news, or would it be devastating and disappointing news?

So many questions and no answers – yet.

Sean Johnson was sitting on his couch, with his phone by his side.

“I wasn’t going to move very far with my phone,” the New York City FC captain and goalkeeper said. “Just waiting for the call after I got back from the camp in Dallas.”

Johnson was at a special training camp with other Major League Soccer players vying for a spot on the U.S. World Cup roster.

“I think if I missed that call, I would never forgive myself,” he said.

Finally, his cellphone rang.

The caller ID said it was Gregg Berhalter. The U.S. men’s national team coach.

But Johnson had to wait just a little bit longer to hear about his World Cup fate.

“The first thing he says was, ‘Why are you still wearing the same shirt from camp?’ ” Johnson said.

Berhalter, of course, was joking.

“I didn’t know where I stood, “he said. “It was it was joking, small talk about my shirt. Then we talked about doing yoga that morning. Yeah, I was waiting. I was sweating a little bit.

“But we ultimately got to that point in the conversation and the weight was just lifted and it’s just pure elation. … It’s hard to describe this moment.”

Talking to the media during a mixed zone at Brooklyn Steel on Wednesday night, Johnson admitted he didn’t remember the exact day, that one day has rushed into another.

But he was relieved and excited to hear the good news.

“Obviously this week’s been a bit chaotic,” he said. “All the emotions and stress waiting for the call and getting the call and be able to tell them that they’re going to be able to go and support. So, it’s a special meaning. Just a roller coaster but ultimately just really happy to be here and headed to Qatar. It’s a lifelong dream achieved and it’s something that’s very special.”

During a 13-year MLS career and playing internationally, Johnson has experienced the best of times and the worst of times. He was in the net as a first-half substitute after Bill Hamid was injured when El Salvador scored the equalizing goal in a 3-3 draw that eliminated the Americans in the first round from Concacaf qualifying for the 2012 Olympics.

But Johnson rebounded. He played seven seasons with the Chicago Fire before he was dealt to NYCFC prior to the 2017 campaign. He became a team leader and one of the key figures in NYCFC’s march to the 2021 MLS Cup title.

He apparently has used that yoga he mentioned not get overly excited. He has learned to stay in and appreciate the moment.

At 33, Johnson is a club veteran and a World Cup rookie. He can talk to his younger USMNT teammates about dealing with pressure from his background, but the 6-3, 216-lb. goalkeeper will experience in Qatar will be a whole new world.

“First time in the World Cup, you want enjoy the moment, enjoy the experience,” he said. “It’s a new one for me. Special at that.

“I’ve experienced a lot of course in my career. This is just a moment in my career. Obviously, that’s a massive moment, something that’s been a dream. So, a dream come true. But being a veteran player and leader with this group in the club level as well, I think obviously I bring that energy but it’s all facets to this. I think everybody is committed to doing that.”

The USA will meet Wales in its opening Group B match on Nov. 21. It is essential for any team to accrue points, even one, to have a chance of reaching the knockout round. So, there is pressure on both sides.

Johnson said it was important to get off to a good start.

But …

“I think it’s also important to take it one day at a time,” he said. “So, a lot of time of preparation between now and then. You get too far ahead of yourself and start thinking about you know, all the all the different opponents. You stay in the present. I found it’s the best way to really to be successful and not really get too far ahead.”

It must be that yoga kicking in.

“Because if you put all of your energy and focus into one point in time, I think gives you the best chance to go forward and succeed,” he added. “I think that’s what we’ll do.”