Tuesday night’s loss by the US men’s national team was the most embarrassing in the history of the federation as the Americans lost 2-1 to Trinidad and Tobago, meaning they will miss out on next summer’s World Cup.
Admittedly, I’m a soccer newbie, I don’t watch a ton, but do enjoy the international competition. I got my first exposure in the summer of 1994, when the United States hosted the World Cup. ESPN televised the event and I watched plenty of games, but especially the Americans. I remember the US beating Colombia on the own goal from Andres Escobar, which turned into a tragedy. The US lost to Brazil in the knockout round, but I was hooked.
I became like many Americans, where I would care about soccer every four years. More times than not, I was disappointed that we didn’t advance and do any serious damage. The summer of 2009 was huge as the US beat Spain, the number one team in the world in the Confederation Cup, the leadup to the World Cup. The US played Brazil in the final and led the game, before the Brazilians came back and won the title.
Each international event raised my excitement to see the US do something. In 2010, my dad and my sister were visiting from New York during the World Cup, even my dad, who hates soccer, got wrapped into the US when they scored a goal to tie Slovenia.
2014 was the ultimate. My wife, then girlfriend got to see my passion run amok when the US played Portugal. She got to see me at my ultra-soccer rubeness, as the US lead 2-1 late. I was sitting on the floor like a six year, rocking back and forth with nerves as the game neared its conclusion. Portugal scored with less than a minute remaining and a full on tantrum occurred after. Miraculously, she still married me.
That leads to tonight. I sat in the WDAY Sports office and watched nervously as the US played Trinidad and Tobago needing a win to make the World Cup. That result never came and for the first time in my soccer fandom, the US won’t play in the world’s biggest sporting event.
That leads to my emotions as I write this. For some reason I’m mad. Frustrated. Upset that I won’t see the red, white and blue play against France, England or Germany. But then again, I know I’m in the minority in the sports world. A majority of Americans will forget this game by later today or Thursday. I frequently talk to soccer coaches in the area about US soccer and how can we get better. The answers are all over the place, but it always starts at the youth level. Their frustrations are real as well.
They can join me and the group of American Outlaws that live here in Fargo that will mope around tomorrow and bemoan the fact that soccer isn’t more popular. The US had its chance and blew it. And my soccer loving heart just can’t get over it.