Writer: Anthony Aleman
The United States men’s soccer team had what might have been the worst game in the federation’s history Tuesday night, losing to Trinidad and Tobago 2-1 and failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup for the first time since 1986. The United States had a 93 percent chance of qualifying before the night started. 93 PERCENT. The United States could only be knocked out of qualifying if one of twenty-seven outcomes occurred, and guess what: it happened last night as the US lost, Mexico lost to Honduras, and Costa Rica lost to Panama. This loss came as a stunner to many due to the fact that Trinidad was the worst team in qualifying and literally had nothing worth playing for. The fact that the United States could not even tie Trinidad just shows how this team really did not deserve to go to Russia and play against the best in the world. Bruce Arena told reporters last Thursday that he hadn’t even prepared to play Trinidad and Tobago, and if that’s something that the United States soccer federation is okay with allowing then the United States does not deserve a place in the biggest soccer tournament in the world. Excuses such as field conditions does not matter in this scenario; even if it was at a high school stadium that was not of the best conditions, the team just flat out failed. The United States team forgets there are other countries in the world playing on worse fields and conditions then them, this team has to grow up and stop making excuses for constant failure. It starts from the top down with federation president Sunil Gulati, who will now almost certainly be voted out in the elections of next February, and it ends with the “elite” youth soccer coaches this country has throughout its fifty states. The federation must make changes, the country has invested more than enough money in the development of the soccer programs, however it is not working. The new president must rework the structure of us soccer and make a change to be competitive, if that means allotting money in different areas of the soccer program well then by all means do it. The United States must also make players better than just MLS level. The MLS is a great mid-level league, but in order to be able to compete with the best nations in the world the United States must have more players who are training and playing for elite level international teams such as Barcelona, Real Madrid, and many others. Once the United States can send players there who constantly play then they can pull them for international games and expect better results than losing to Trinidad and Tobago. The MLS level standard must go, everyone from the youth level all the way to the professionals must shoot for European level talent in order to get even CLOSE to winning a world cup. The men’s team also must begin to qualify for the Olympics in soccer, as this is a crucial event for younger players to gain great in game experience against other top countries best youth players. Once the united states can get away from relying on older players who are in the latter stages of their career, then the US will finally rise to levels rarely ever achieved. A total rebuild is needed, and hopefully bringing in a better president and better coaching staff will allow for change to happen. Hiring an international coach with international success seems to be the best idea, as Bruce Arenas tenure has gone awful compared to his predecessor Jurgen Klinsmann. The United States can get to the level of brazil, Spain, and other powerhouses, it will just take a different approach towards the way things are currently set.