HBO’s special begins with footage of the United States Men’s National Team being defeated by Trinidad and Tobago in the final World Cup qualifier from the CONCACAF Hex. Seconds later, USSF presidential candidate Kyle Martino utters the words, “US Soccer thinks they have all the answers. And they’re not, in its current iteration, willing to ask the experts for help. On the men’s side, that’s been catastrophic.”
From the beginning of this 13-minute special that will air on HBO tonight on the show Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel, the broadcast is spellbinding. But instead of rehashing the reasons why the United States is failing as a soccer nation, HBO charts a different course by looking at one man who could be a key figure in changing the future of the soccer in this country.
Soccer coach Tom Byer is a fascinating man who has been instrumental in training elite players and teaching fundamentals to millions of children in Japan. While he’s done much to help make the Japanese men and women’s team a force on the world’s stage, the United States Soccer Federation has finally decided to hire the American to begin making a difference on these shores.
Byer’s project is only for a small pilot program which helps teaches the fundamentals of how to improve in soccer in Washington State, but it’s a start. (Unfortunately the USSF declined to be interviewed for the program.)
In the HBO special, Martino expresses how he can’t understand why USSF has for years neglected the opportunity to hire Byer. If Martino wins the race to become the next USSF President, he promises to hire Byer to join his team.
In the typical style of the Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel program, the broadcast does an excellent job at telling the story in a succinct style as well as relying on correspondent Jon Frankel to ask the hard-hitting questions.
After leaving his mark on Japan and China, it’s now Tom Byer’s turn to make a difference in the United States. Find out what his philosophy is and how he could make a difference in the US by watching the HBO special that will debut on Tuesday, November 21 from 10-11pm ET exclusively on HBO. It’ll also be available on HBO NOW, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and Sling TV (free 7-day trial).