US Soccer at Half Mast

The Road to Russia is over for the men's national team

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US Soccer at Half Mast

Christian Pulisic in sorrow as the final whistle blows.

Christian Pulisic in sorrow as the final whistle blows.

Photo by Getty Images

Christian Pulisic in sorrow as the final whistle blows.

Photo by Getty Images

Photo by Getty Images

Christian Pulisic in sorrow as the final whistle blows.

Andrew Mize, Staff Reporter

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Soccer, or football, is a game that brings planet earth together. Every four years, the world’s 32 best teams meet to decide who is the top team in the world. It is a time that singlehandedly connects and divides the whole world at the same time. For the first time since 1986, the United States Men’s soccer team has failed to qualify for the World Cup to be held in Russia.

The United States was looking forward to an even more successful campaign in Russia, then the last time around in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In 2014, the US advanced to the round of 16, and then eventually were knocked out by the Belgian powerhouse, led by Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois. Many fans were very surprised at the way the US fared led by Clint Dempsey and coached by Jurgen Klinsmann.

Fast forward to this year, the USA was in a hole with two games left to go. The players were fired up about the importance riding in the game. They put together one of their best performances and ended up winning 4-0, led by the rising star Christian Pulisic, who is only 19 years old, and Bruce Arena, in his second tenure as head coach.

Now with one game to go, they were matched up against Trinidad and Tobago, the worst team in the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association, or CONCACAF. All the US had to do was at least draw the match. But as if it were fate, they played one of the worst performances in all of the men’s history, losing 2-1.

“I feel the U.S. wasn’t playing to win throughout the entire game!” Said junior Sam Vandenberg. “They were playing for a tie, and they couldn’t even do that! All the hype for these “amazing” players is for nothing. These people we look up to like Christian Pulisic, Clint Dempsey, Bobby Wood, Tim Howard, Jozy Altidore, and Michael Bradley don’t live up to the fan’s expectations. Sometimes it seems like the fans care more than the players,” Vandenberg finished. The fact that a nation’s top player, Christian Pulisic, is barely able to vote is troubling for a country who prides themselves on their athletic feats.

“The US Men’s National Team does not deserve to be in the 2018 World Cup,” said senior Michael Fenner. “It pains me to say this with the incoming talent of the and the numerous veteran players’ careers coming to an end. There are no valid excuses for why the United States Men’s National Team didn’t qualify. I blame the players’ lack of urgency and their arrogance,” Fenner continued. The United States play in the CONCACAF, which is arguably one of the easiest and most forgiving divisions in the entire world, besides Mexico.

The fact that a country with over 300 million people that is perceived as an international powerhouse can’t qualify for a simple soccer tournament is very disappointing. Obviously, the likes of the NBA and the NFL have a much more prevalent impact on the USA, but one would think that they could at least qualify.

The road to recovery will be a long and treacherous one for the USA. They were embarrassed and have to bear this burden for at least the next 5 years. The one thing that the US needs to really focus on is change and what they can do to never have this travesty happen ever again. 

Andrew Mize

Andrew joined the Flightline in August of 2017. He is a senior this year, involved in cross country, track, HOSA and Guardians. Outside of school, he enjoys watching football, Netflix and listening to music. You can email him at [email protected]