As a long time soccer player and fan, I have been extremely overwhelmed and full of excitement when it comes to the growth of American soccer.
This not only means the MLS (Major League Soccer) but also the United States Mens/Womens National Teams. The last World Cup alone brought so many viewers and new futbol fans, that it will only continue to help the growth with the younger generation being introduced to sports.
Unfortunately, there always come new opinions and ideas on how the teams should be operated and maintained, sometimes by critics who have never touched a soccer ball on the pitch before.
While the MLS is doing a magnificent job with bringing over European legends over on loan or to retire their career in America, bringing more viewers and ticket revenue for the MLS. Heck, even Freddy Adu, a.k.a. Wonder Boy, made a return home to the United States after a long period of club transfers, and Freddy plays for the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the NASL Division.
It is understandable that there will always be critics, that happens with everything in life, yet for the USMNT, it seems that we are attempting to place the blame on the players, head coach, manager, the weather, what they ate for breakfast, it is getting a bit out of hand. For example, the USMNT was on a winning streak, defeating the number one and number three teams in the world, Germany and the Netherlands, while the games were just friendly, it still meant a lot to the organization.
Now, Jurgen Klinsmann’s and the USMNT main goal this year was to win the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Looking at the tournament, most Americans believed we had a walk down the yellow brick road to win the Gold Cup. Since the loss to Jamaica and Panama, it has basically been a head calling for Jurgen and his coaching position, which is absurd.
Let’s look at his track record, he recently took the team over four years ago, and received aged talent, stubbornness, and lack of support from the American society. Americans looked at it as a non-American sport and was basically shunned for how terrible we were in earlier years. Yet Jurgen took over the team, after leaving the four-time World Cup champion Die Mannschaft, we also cannot forget that he left his home country to coach a torn-down American soccer team.
Now, Jurgen has led us to a previous Gold Cup win, to the Round of 16 against an amazing game against Belgium, and now more supporters and media coverage than ever before.
What I am attempting to say is that we as critics must understand the one element, the most exciting element in all sports venues. The Human Element, the surprise factor, the madness of upsets. Think about it in college basketball, there is a whole month dedicated to upsets and the human element, March Madness.
When a one seed gets upset by a fourteen seed, do you see those coaches getting fired, or put on the chopping block, never. We have to realize, that we are not the best team in the world, and sometimes, momentum can get the best of any team, but we eventually will have the skill and talent to compete with the best amongst the world, and could even potentially, hoist up the one thing the USMNT has never held up, the FIFA World Cup Trophy.