On October 10, the United States did the unthinkable: they did not qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Needing just one point in Couva, they fell 2-1 to 83rd ranked Trinidad and Tobago. This is the first time since 1986 that the United State failed to qualify. But do not fret, I am here to tell you why missing the holy grail of soccer tournaments will actually be a good thing for the future of United States soccer.
Let me start out by saying this, the performance in Trinidad was utterly embarrassing. The team showed no fight, no will, and no urgency even after going down 2-0. The positives are there though. Pundits and twitter “experts” are calling for a total
reform to the United States soccer system. That will not happen anytime soon, and Sunil Gulati will probably remain the president of United States soccer again. So what are the positives? Well, for one, with Bruce Arena resigning, the US will appoint a new manager. I would like to see Tab Ramos as that guy for the transition. Tab was recently spotted at the New York Red Bull’ games, maybe having a look at starlet Tyler Adams should the Uruguayan become interim coach? Tab would be a perfect suitor for this job, having coached the United States u-20 team to last summer’s U20 World Cup quarterfinals. We need to
integrate the younger kids who can play.
Let’s face it, the USMNT that lost to Trinidad was just not very talented. The u23 cycle before them failed to qualify for the Olympics and only 2 players from that cycle Bobby Wood, and Deandre Yedlin deserve to be with the USMNT again. And having qualified for the World Cup would have kept guys like Graham Zusi, and Alejandro Bedoya around when they have no business being around. It is time to play the kids. These kids are talented lead obviously by Christian Pulisic. But then there are kids like Weston McKennie, Adams, and Matt Miazga. Tab knows these players, and should be given the reins to integrate them to the senior team. Oh, and let’s please get a technical director, I’m looking at you Hugo Perez.
The loss to Trinidad is going to make these kids hungry. The embarrassment of missing out on the World Cup is something that will not go away until 2019, these kids will be hungry to prove people wrong. Out with the old, and in with the new. We are going to have to live with that embarrassment, and these kids will be out to prove an entire country wrong. The next 3 years should be with experimenting, expanding the player pool, and scouting finding these talented kids and pushing them to try themselves in Europe, which we are already seeing, and I like to think of it as the Christian Pulisic effect. How cool is it that a 19 year old has broken into one of the best teams in Europe, starts, and plays in the Champions League? The other kids should be thinking why not me? It isn’t going to be easy but the opportunities are there, and the United States will be better because of this.
By: Jimmy Hofer
Photo: USA Today Sports