Not even 24 hours removed from one of the darkest days in recent U.S. Men’s National team history, and while many sensible supporters recognize the deep-lying issues amongst the American soccer culture a resounding theme for others has been quite the contrary.
Just a word of advice, which is nothing groundbreaking on my end.
Avoid Twitter and other social media platforms at all costs after a brutal loss, like the one we all witnessed on Tuesday night. It only causes emotional distress for all parties involved.
While reading through my Twitter timeline — which is the exact opposite thing I should have been doing — the sentiments popping up, for the most part, were what I fully expected. It was one of disappointment, anger and a little nausea.
However, others in the U.S. soccer community began writing about how the USMNT deserves to be in Russia next summer more so than Panama or Honduras and in an even more comical twist that President Donald Trump is at fault for the Americans’ shortcomings.
I’m certainly not naive enough to believe either of those two sentiments personally, however, it’s become quite clear that the former argument is a resounding theme in the minds of many in the American soccer community.
Over the years there has become a growing sense of entitlement amongst U.S. supporters, and to some degree it’s understandable. The 2018 World Cup cycle will be the first time the Americans haven’t reached the game’s biggest tournament since 1986.
To put that into perspective, 1986 saw Ronald Reagan as president of the United States, Mike Tyson won his first boxing world title and college basketball adopted the three-point line.
Simply put, it’s a long time.
In fact, prior to next summer’s tournament, the USMNT had qualified for seven consecutive trips to the World Cup — which was actually a longer run than Mexico. El Tri were banned from the competition in 1990 for fielding ineligible players during the lead up to the competition.
Does that honestly mean that the World Cup is some sort of right of passage for the Americans though? Because it shouldn’t be.
Yes, the U.S. has made countless strides throughout the years to enhance its standing and perception within the global soccer community, but this is also the classic case of “what have you done for me lately?”
Like other sports and areas of life, it’s about what you earn instead of what you’ve been handed out. It’s absolutely absurd to honestly state that past performances should dictate whether or not the USMNT should be playing in Russia next year.
This team simply wasn’t good enough to qualify, and over 10 matches during the Hexagonal, that truth came bursting out.
Veteran players like Michael Bradley, Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey obviously have played massive roles in the past for the USMNT, and deserve credit for their service, but those three and the rest of the squad know that they needed to be better on Tuesday and throughout their qualifying campaign.
That’s not a knock on just the players though. The word “systemic” has been brought up for some time now, and that’s referring to the broader issues within U.S. Soccer that go above and beyond simply the selection of players.
To use another example, look at Brazil at the last World Cup. The Selecao are a perennial power in soccer, and have been for decades. The Brazilians were handed a humbling for the ages by Germany in the semifinals, before being thumped by Holland once again in the third-place match in front of their home crowd.
For most countries, reaching the semifinal at the World Cup would be a massive accomplishment, but not for Brazil or any other top soccer-playing nation.
The USMNT has had its humbling experience, and as Ian Darke said so eloquently worded on Tuesday, the “USA did not earn it.”
They’ve got to bounce back and prepare itself better for the future after the incumbent changes occur in the coming days and weeks.
In the words of a popular children’s book, “You get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit!”Follow @MattReedFutbol