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The USMNT’s Last Chance Blown-Up By TNT

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.


(Christian Pulisic reacts as USMNT fails to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia)

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:

Columbus, OH.

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 Soccer-Pointer

Basketball games are filled with lots of points. They’re not hard to come by. Conversely, goals in soccer are (comparatively) significantly more rare, but lauded with comparable energy and jubilation as an alley-oop, backboard-breaking slam dunk or buzzer-beating 3-pointer.

So, how would world-class footballers fare in the world of basketball, with that tiny hoop and a regulation size 5 soccer ball? Interestingly, a layup seems more impressive when soccer players do it:

The half-court heave has nothing on this:


(That’s soccer for, “Yeah, that just happened”).

The Eternal Prison of Revenge


The next bizarre chapter of the Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito saga begins with the two former lovers being found guilty/colpevole by a Florentine appeals court. When the verdict came down yesterday, it had to be utterly surreal and downright depressing (mentally, emotionally and even physically) for Knox and Sollecito.

The two most important questions at this juncture: how and why?

How could there be a guilty verdict if there wasn’t any new, groundbreaking evidence to definitively prove that Knox and her former boyfriend committed murder against Meredith Kercher or that they were even at the scene that treacherous night? For a moment, contemplate the places you’ve walked through and sat down just today in the past ten minutes. Could you retrace your steps exactly as you took them and then clean literally every single spec and trace of your presence?

If it seems impossible, it’s because it is, unless you’re a villain from The Blacklist. And even then…

And, if Knox and Sollecito did pull off that impossible feat for themselves, why did they leave their partner-in-crime Rudy Guede with his DNA everywhere? If so, why didn’t Guede ever mention such a betrayal? It’s usually quite difficult to disclose something that didn’t really happen, which is why nothing like this was ever divulged.

Having followed the case closely, as well as having read Knox’s book that details her painful and exhaustive account, this case is not 100% clear-cut. That’s been well established. There were a few questionable reactions by Knox, but none of which was ever attached with hard evidence that would lead to her to be deemed guilty. To proclaim her guilt based on wild conjecture requires one hell of a story.

Why has this specific case extended far beyond a standard legal trial for murder? Sadly, ulterior motives seem to be part of the never-ending argument being formed by the prosecutor and his wild and disturbed imagination, the Italian police originally involved, the Italian public and the Italian legal system as a whole. A legitimate hypothesis is that they all feel forever embarrassed by how the world saw them investigate and conduct themselves throughout this highly publicized, divisive and scrutinized trial.

There is justice to be had, but it seems like one side is eternally clouded by bitter revenge.

One more thought to reflect on is whether or not the Kercher family owes (now or in the future) Knox and Sollecito an apology? Why is this question being asked? Think about what has been determined by hard evidence: Rudy Guede was at the crime scene with his DNA everywhere (including the walls, floor, bed comforter, the bathroom and Meredith’s body). He was a known criminal who had previously broken into other buildings. He then fled on a train out of the country the very next morning after the murder took place.

With the evidence lacking against Knox and Sollecito, and while being completely sympathetic to the Kercher family wanting to know every detail and to receive every bit of justice for their daughter and sister (100% understandable), it seems like what they have relentlessly put two innocent kids through in a suspect (at best) legal system multiple times should be at least mentioned.

Knowing that the above statement was a very sensitive and controversial proposition to bring up, it still seems like a legitimate point to make. Would the Kercher family feel the same way about their persistence of assumed guilt for Knox if their daughter was in Amanda’s shoes and Meredith was subjected to the same scrutiny and fantastical stories by the prosecutor, Knox family and local media?

Rudy Guede, who was proven guilty with overwhelming evidence and a confession, is locked up behind bars.

And yet, this is all just another crazy chapter in a surreal story that ceases to have a real ending.

The Only Seemingly Censored Four-Letter Word Today

David Remnick, the editor at The New Yorker, exhausted not only his literary endurance, but also the patience, interest and eye strength of any casual reader with his 16,648-word journey into the mind of President Obama five years into his presidency (plus select members of his team). There were details of fundraising in posh mansions, but nothing new. There was no new or even worthwhile revelation in the least.

As George Will stated recently, “It was interestingly uninteresting.”

And again, the article is nearly 17,000 words.

Regardless of the subject, that’s a lot of words for anything or anyone that is squeezed into the precious and costly space of a printed magazine in the digital era. However, what’s more startling in the earliest weeks of 2014 is that after days of conversations, inquiries and reflection, the word “jobs” is cited just three times in the article, “Going the Distance: On and off the road with Barack Obama.”

3 times.

Yes, it’s true.

The word that causes an incurable anxiety and is devastatingly on repeat in the minds of millions of struggling and dejected Americans 24 hours a day and 7 days a week for several years now, was almost omitted completely from an interview with the person who has the greatest influence in the country on this essential issue.

There is a single word for this revelation: unbelievable.

The one issue that unites even the most partisan of talkers, debaters and citizens in the United States as the most critically important problem to resolve immediately is nonexistent to the Pulitzer Prize-winning interviewer and President of the United States.

The context for the three mentions of the word “jobs” were this:

  • A brief recap of Jeff Tiller and his ascension to working for Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign to working in the Obama White House
  • A description of John Podesta getting people jobs in the Clinton Administration during the transition period for “friends of Bill”
  • Revealing that the reason for visiting DreamWorks for a fundraiser was because the company was creating jobs in Southern California

While depressing, it’s also not surprising that the word, concept and idea of “jobs” completely confuses and frustrates this president. Five years have passed with no visionary or practical solutions. We all remember the “you didn’t build that” statement from a campaign speech in 2012.

The economy cannot be fixed (and hasn’t) by reading a speech that’s been entered into a teleprompter.

But maybe the disenchanted public will get lucky and see him pivot for a day or two in the form of a series of televised non-serious speeches with non-serious solutions.

For anybody who watches basketball, a player that pivots to no end usually shows the crowd not only his lack of knowing what to do, but also how not to play and win the game.

This post is not 16,648 words, but it wouldn’t take that long to realize that jobs (along with trust) are the top priority for the United States of America right now at this precise moment in history.

16,600+ words about President Obama? Okay…

16,600+ words that ultimately reveals a new (yet simple), insightful and opportunity-centric jobs plan for hard-working Americans and dreamers alike that would create quality 21st century jobs for the stressed-out and struggling, but unrelentingly determined and optimistic American people?

And the delusional wait progresses with absolutely no answer on the horizon…

However, the latter would have at least produced an interesting article to read that just might have actually been worth a damn.