On Oct. 10, the United States men’s national soccer team lost 2-1 to Trinidad and Tobago, which means that the U.S. will not qualify for the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) 2018 World Cup in Russia.
This is the first time since 1986 that the United States men’s national team has not featured in a World Cup.
Fans like myself were hoping that the momentum from beating Panama 4-0 only four days earlier would carry on into this match.
We were hoping for a miracle, and all the team needed was a tie. But unfortunately, the hearts of fans across the country were shattered as the team suffered an away loss that is now considered one of the saddest days in U.S. sports history.
There was a roller coaster of emotions when the final whistle blew. As fans, we felt angry, confused, shocked and sad. The U.S. had a great run to the round of 16 of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, so why did they struggle in qualifying this year?
Needless to say, many fans and even former players voiced their opinions. Many called for United States Soccer president Sunil Gulati to step down.
Even now, former U.S. men’s national team coach Bruce Arena stepped down after the loss. Former United States men’s national team player Taylor Twellman said live on Sportscenter, “This is not about Bruce Arena. This is not about Bruce Arena’s legacy. This is about fundamental change within the U.S. Soccer Federation” (USA Today.) And he wasn’t the only former player to be concerned with the current state of U.S. soccer.
Former player Landon Donovan replied to a fan’s tweet on Oct. 11 saying, “Myself and others will work tirelessly to make you believe again. Stay tuned” (USA Today.)
And in my opinion, I agree with both Donovan and Twellman.
Despite the growth from 2010 to 2014, the team still just isn’t good enough.
I think we need a revamp of the U.S. soccer program and get away from this pay-to-play approach because not every family has the money to let their kid play soccer at a high level.
It’s tough when a kid wants to play at the highest level, but can’t get the coaching experience and development that they need to reach that level.
We need to start making soccer more accessible to play at a higher level, and we need to invest and start focusing on the future of U.S. soccer so we can make up for this devastating low.
Luke Stergiou can be contacted at email@example.com