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American Soccer

Lack of U.S. Soccer involvement ruins reputation, progress


It was the perfect set up;  A Mexican squad in dire need of a win to gain back confidence, A U.S. squad playing with benchwarmers.  US Soccer executives probably didn’t figure on 5 – nothing. 

The damage is done.  After huge summer gains with the American sports fans, US Soccer blunders. 

At some point, US Soccer will have to gain more influence with CONCACAF.  US Soccer can not take the same risk again.  The next qualification for Confed Cup may need to exclude the U.S. from playing the following Gold Cup. 

Right now, pro Soccer is trying gain its foothold with the sports fans.  If the sports fan is going to be in constant bewilderment over wins and losses, first teamers and second teamers, Cups and Championships, then Soccer is defeating its purpose.  This Gold Cup meant nothing, but a trophy.  Treat the fans honestly, don’t try to sneak things past them.

Pro Soccer is being directly impacted by the USMNT’s play.  The USMNT generates interest when it wins, which in turn, generates more interest in Pro Soccer.

It is time for those making the decisions for US Soccer to make a stand for common sense.  It is the only thing the sports fan understands.  Sports fans in the U.S. only support teams playing to win with its best players. 

If the Gold Cup was just a buffer in case of an early exit from Confed Cup, its understandable why US Soccer made the commitment to play it.  But, there are only so many priorities USMNT players can have, and US Soccer is aware of this. 

Having more foresight into scheduling issues is extremely important for US Soccer execs.  The U.S. can not afford to be playing second teamers as Soccer continues to rise in popularity.  It needs to win as much as it can as often as it can.   

After the great final from the Confederation Cup, the U.S. had only one option for the Gold Cup and that was to win it.  The result from the Gold Cup final only confuses sports fans.  So much of the progress made from the great run against Brazil in Confed Cup can now be completely zapped with a loss to Mexico in the World Cup Qualifier later this month.

The bottom line is that US Soccer must project ahead and try to help CONCACAF to build strategies for a better schedule of tournaments.  CONCACAF is a great organization, and it is continuing to make strides.  It has made the region more recognizable to Soccer fans and has brought many of its participating countries much overdue respect in the eyes of Americans.  But improvements and refinements need to be made to its structure and US Soccer should be a driving force in those changes.

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  1. Brandon

    August 3, 2009 at 11:56 am

    ERT09 – I am in now way excusing the results. There is no way I’m going to sit here and defend Heaps, but let’s be realistic. You always want and need a veterans around the team as well.

    What I don’t understand or agree with is the following, “The damage is done… US Soccer can not take the same risk again. The next qualification for Confed Cup may need to exclude the U.S. from playing the following Gold Cup. ”

    So, if I understand correct, the proposed the solution is to not play in the tournament?!?!

  2. gmonsoon43

    August 3, 2009 at 9:44 am

    CONCACAF should just get with the program and hold the Gold Cup every 4 years.(2007,2011, etc)


  3. ERT09

    August 2, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    Brandon- if getting young players experince in this tournament was the citeria some of us wouldn’t care as much- but Heaps, Ching, Conrad Pause, etc are not building a future of the national team. Don’t generalize about the intent of US Soccer and excuse the result just based on Holden and Rogers being in the team.

    If we were really building for the future this would have been an U-23 or U-20 team, which it most certainly was not.

  4. Brandon

    August 2, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    Dude… I think you are over reacting quite a bit. Sure, it wasn’t the strongest team the US could field. At the end of the day these tournaments are essential to developing and grooming talent for the US mens national team. If the experience a player like Stuart Holden or Chad Marshall gained in the Gold Cup puts them in a position to succeed in the WORLD CUP next year… not only was this a small hiccup along the way, but it was vital to the US mens teams success in THE international tournament that matters. Once again, the American philosophy of only focusing on results has resulted in a short sighted article which would eventually lead to a long term detriment. Relax. Take a deep breath. And continue supporting the team and sport you love.

  5. eplnfl

    August 2, 2009 at 4:41 pm


    The WC after England beat up Germany if I recall correctly Germany was in the final four and England did not fair as well. What happens in the Gold Cup final this year means nothing towards 2010. Period. End the hollow debate.

  6. Lewis

    August 2, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Mitch- you used to write some total B/S, but now seem to be understanding the game better and the way to win over real fans without changing rules,. etc.

    This is a good piece. Whine and cry as some of our fans might, but 5-0 is a bad result even with a team of U-1& kids when the spotlight is on. You don’t give up 5 goals in 35 minutes with allegedly professional players and get a free pass. Those that want to marginalize the importance of this result simply don’t know the game very well on an international level.

    When Argentina was crushed by Colombia in 1993 it took them years to regain their MoJo. For Germany the 5-1 thrashing in Munich to Sven’s England is still a day of national shame.

    But hear in America, led by Gulati and the USSF, we come up with excuses: a summer where we had our worst ever loss to Brazil, our worst loss to Italy since sometime long ago (kartik keeps saying the date on the pod but I forget when it was) and our worst loss in a non friendly since the 1950s, cannot be viewed as successful based on one fluke 6 goals swing in the last group game versus Egypt and one very very good game versus Spain.

    Azteca is critically important. Psychologically if we lose to Mexico down there, they know they’ve turned the corner on us and we cannot claim to be the dominant team in this region. After the thrashing st Saprissa, it is funny that some claim that anyhow.

  7. Lars

    August 2, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Another thing that hurts progress is the US not playing against the best possible competition. Maybe USSF should speak up and help the CSA stop the shady refereeing practices of CONCACAF.

  8. teh football gambler

    August 2, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Teh qualifier is on August 12th, in the Azteca. And we’re gonna win it.

  9. eplnfl

    August 2, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Have to be with Morgan on this. Yes, 5-0 got out of hand, but the victory was being there at the final with the C team that the US had. How many teams could of reached the final while constantly sending players off to there European teams. We here know that the Gold Cup was an after thought for the US this summer. May casual fans or the newly interested be turned off, possibly, but Morgan makes a correct point on the accuracy for once of the media coverage explaining the nature of the US squad.

    I hate to bring this up, but after Kartik’s interview with Jamie Trecker, that decided to look at the downside of the summer’s activities some opinion’s here changed. Well, that is good, a free debate is necessary for the teams future. However, one can sit back and say the US accomplished a few things never done before. Beating a No. 1 ranked squad, advancing to two finals, and making progress to qualify for next years WC. Not to mention finding a few players that look to be able to play in the WC next year against all comers. Oh, and a few US players managed to get enough good ratings to get bigger contracts in Europe.

    A bad taste in one’s mouth after the final score last week but on the whole a great summer.

  10. morgan

    August 2, 2009 at 5:54 am

    Agree to a very limited extent, but you fail to acknowledge that many, many sport news organizations explicitly stated and/or explained that the Gold Cup team was indeed a B or C team. For instance, ESPN anchors on SportsCenter and the new show, SportsNation, explained that this tournament did not affect WC qualifying and the team did not bear a resemblance to the successful Confed Cup starting XI. Casual fans or potential fans would have seen such programs and the disclaimers (or the actual match broadcast itself, during which the B or C status of the team was made clear). Long-term/avid American soccer fans would have already known the nature of the Gold Cup team. So I think your stance that things are “ruin[ed]” is terribly overblown.

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