Sábado, 18/11/2017 | : : UTC-5
The Reflection

The US failed to qualify for the World Cup: what’s next?

1 vote

United States soccer fans were stunned. The United States soccer team had a must win (or tie) against the small Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago and ended up losing 2-1. It was embarrassing, frightening and shameful.

How big of a step back is this for soccer in the United States?

Increased attendance at Gull Lake Men’s soccer games could indicate a growth in the sport’s popularity. Photo by Parker Feraco.

Quite a substantial one. The increase in popularity of soccer has caught the attention of Americans throughout the country. According to Huffington Post, there are around 3 million youth soccer players in the United States, and that statistic is expected to grow every year.

Will not qualifying for the World Cup hurt our numbers? Maybe. The number of girls playing soccer boosted tremendously after the success of the Women’s National Team after their World Cup win in 2015, leading me to believe there will not be a significant boost in numbers next summer.

The more players, the more talent… right?

How in the world are we so bad at soccer if we have so many players to choose from? Panama qualified ahead of us with a population of 4 million. Costa Rica embarrassed the United States during the qualification rounds with a population of only 4.8 million people. Lastly Honduras qualified for the World Cup with 9 million people. Yet the United States, the country with the most money invested in soccer in the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) and a population of 323 million, failed to qualify for the World Cup.

Gull Lake Women’s soccer team has produced very talented players over the last decade. Photo by Jenna Davison.

There have been several instances within the US Federation where there have been mishaps regarding the general direction of the Federation. Executives have not been on the same page with the intended goals of the US Soccer Federation. It’s time to clear house in the United States Soccer Federation. Manager Bruce Arena resigned, but the Federation needs to evaluate themselves before things continue to move south. They clearly haven’t developed the talent and structure that will enable our men’s soccer team to develop.

Do we have the talent? Well… kinda. We certainly have upcoming talent that is still developing with teams both in the United States and overseas. The issue during qualification was our old, and frankly boring players. The aged generation of United States Soccer’s time is up. It’s too frayed to provide a spark in the qualifiers and consistently outplayed by young talent throughout CONCACAF.  For example Trinidad & Tobago.

Once these threadbare players are off the national team, we can finally focus on some exciting young players such as Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Bobby Wood (Hamburger SV), Gedion Zelalem (Arsenal), Timothy Weah (Paris Saint Germain), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham), and the already proven John Brooks (VfL Wolfsburg). Whether or not you’ve heard of these players, you will by the 2022 World Cup.

The qualifiers as a whole were a disaster. There isn’t one lone thing to pin blame on–it was a collection of factors that contributed to the United States getting embarrassed by small Caribbean countries. What a debacle. It’ll be tough watching the World Cup knowing the United States team will be sitting on the couch with the rest of us.


Miles Renwick
About

I am a senior at Gull Lake High School, and this is my first year on staff. I play varsity soccer and enjoy writing about sports. I am looking forward to a good year.

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