The United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) will not compete in next summer’s World Cup in Russia after losing away at lowly Trinidad and Tobago 2-1 last night.
The USMNT has officially hit rock bottom.
One of the blog posts I wrote a few months back concluded the hiring of Bruce Arena would be a 50/50 coin toss regarding success. Whether you picked heads or tails, it turned out to be the other one for Mr. Arena’s prowess for getting the United States to the 2018 World Cup. In truth, the coin didn’t land in someone’s hand, but rather in a gutter.
As written in yesterday’s blog, like the Dutch not qualifying for next year’s World Cup, the USMNT failing to qualify is equally a “total mess.” It’s embarrassing and humiliating. There’s no other way around that fact. Moreover, this blog has repeatedly (repeatedly) written about the shocking lack of change and insight concerning USMNT’s ineffective roster, strategy (the team had a strategy on the pitch?) or any overarching philosophical guiding principles whatsoever for America’s national team. And these critiques aren’t limited to this year or a match-by-match basis, but for several World Cup cycles.
There are so many negative things that can be stated right now. Actually, there are far too many negative things that should be stated right now about the USMNT. That’s a problem in and of itself. One plus today, however, may be that the current roster, not including Christian Pulisic and possibly Bobby Wood, are likely done at the national team level. These older and familiar players were given too many World Cup cycles, especially because their way didn’t deliver expected results. The next generation of Americans, like Christian Pulisic, Julian Green, Mix Diskerud, Wil Trapp, Bobby Wood, Josh Williams and others, need their shot to define the USMNT with a dynamic playing style guided by an identifiable, innovative philosophy.
A new coach from overseas with a proven record with young players wouldn’t hurt. If US Soccer is thinking clearly (a big if), they might focus their attention and wallets on Mr. Pep Guardiola. Once again, it’s possible and also the best bet for simulating a Men in Black flash eraser moment for American soccer fans. All the above problems would be resolved and the USMNT could enter a future World Cup with talent and expectations like never before. If there was ever a moment to show someone the money Jerry Maguire-style, this is it.
The USMNT is (and has been) in desperate need of a soccer revolution. When you think revolution, you think of standing for and protecting your home; the values that define you and showcase your best characteristics for a bright, prosperous future. In the case of US Soccer, that means returning home:
In Columbus, US Soccer will find a future waiting and willing to be built together by dedicated blue collar workers from a plan by white collar visionaries and supported by the best damn fans in the
land stands. Quite frankly, it all sounds like a massive idea.
Actually, it all sounds pretty damn American.
The United States of America is looking good at 241 years of age.
Still youthful and vibrant, yet equally wise and challenged, the American experiment continues to work and thrive in a world of great uncertainty and overwhelming odds against it. There are moments of tremendous divisions that give the impression of weakness and disorder. Although, those that proclaim this notion are ignoring history and basic reality.
As the past 241 years have demonstrated, its the similarities and differences (small and large) between Americans have actually contributed to the strength and durability of the United States of America as the greatest country in the history of the world. We are free to debate, free to express our speech and free to change the course of an issue or, yes, even a nation or the world, through individual expression. Whether in the form of dissent or a rallying call, the opportunity for a better tomorrow is always present for the taking, if we so choose. Fierce debate and strong willed disagreements at the individual, local, state and national level don’t broadcast weakness or reason to sulk and panic, but instead presents the chance for someone (or a group) to see something differently and take action to bridge the seemingly unbridgable gap for a positive vision of unity.
The harder the task, the more impactful the reward.
On the 4th of July, we celebrate all the amazing characteristics that define the United States of America. These celebrations, universal and deeply personal, are special and warrant grand spectacles in the form of spectacular fireworks, wonderful parades, delicious bbq’s and entertaining movies with friends and family.
Above all, we remember that some of this nation’s most critically important historical moments have occurred in the face of intense adversity and daunting uncertainty that, once the smoke clears, continues to reveal a country that will sustain and thrive in ways we couldn’t have ever imagined.
This was one of those moments.
“…and the home of the brave?”
The concluding charge in “The Star-Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key (there’s a family connection to Mr. Key) that, when answered, refreshes the promise of the American experiment for generations to come. And today is a perfect occasion for us to answer that call, in our own unique fashion, for the country we love.
Happy Independence Day.