Narrowing down the list of my voting opportunity for the United States national team’s all-time best 11 to a list of 15-or-so personal finalists wasn’t such a tall task. Not easy, but not insurmountable.
Bit eliminating the next four or five to arrive at the final list? Impossible!
U.S. Soccer is selecting an all-time Best XI as it continues to celebrate 100 years as a federation. I was asked to count myself among the media voters.
You can check it out here from U.S. Soccer, where all the finalists and voting details are listed.
As I said, it was tough as could be at the end. Just consider this: I had to choose four midfielders from between Landon Donovan, Cobi Jones, Claudio Reyna, DaMarcus Beasley, Tab Ramos and Clint Dempsey. (Those were my “finalists” from within the big list of finalists.)
Before you decide – because I know at first glance someone like Beasley may not be tops on your list of all-time U.S. greats, consider the criteria by which we were asked to cast our votes:
- Starter or key contributor to overall success on the field, especially in World Cups.
- Longevity, overall performance and talent on the field with the U.S. Men’s or Women’s National Team.
- Impact on the legacy of the U.S. Men’s or Women’s National Team program
If you really consider the number of caps, the contributions to qualifying over the years, the Gold Cup contributions, the somewhat nebulous “legacy” factor and, of course, the actually World Cup tourney performance, there’s a lot going on.
Without further delay, here was my vote:
Goalkeeper: Kasey Keller
Defenders: Steve Cherundolo, Marcelo Balboa, Alexi Lalas, Carlos Bocanegra
Midfielders: Landon Donovan, Claudio Reyna, Tab Ramos, Cobi Jones
Forwards: Eric Wynalda, Brian McBride