After an embarrassing 2-1 loss to Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday, the U.S. men's soccer team is left with an abundant amount of questions. Paired with wins by Honduras and Panama, the United States will miss their first World Cup in the men's field since 1986.
With billions of dollars spent on youth leagues, training, and other necessities, it seems like the United States soccer department threw billions of ideas at the wall with none of these ideas sticking. They've tried hard on player development and only got Christian Pulisic as the bearing of their fruits. They've also tried to bring in Bruce Arena to fix the team as a coach. That didn't work, either.
The elimination from World Cup qualifying sends a shock wave that hurts the soccer scene in the United States. For starters, Major League Soccer, a league that is experiencing unprecedented growth in North America, is hurt by the elimination. The loss hurts the reputation of MLS as being seen as a second-tier league compared to the likes of La Liga and the English Premier League. FOX is also hurt since it will put a major damper on ratings for the 2018 World Cup in the United States. Nike is also hurt in this as well as the youth soccer leagues, where young children won't be as motivated to join such leagues without the World Cup presence of the United States.
So what needs to change? To start, get rid of Sunil Gulati and institute a ten-year plan or anything of the variation. In 2000, the Germans failed to get out of their group in UEFA Euro, finishing dead last in a mundane Group A. After the humiliating bow-out, the Germans established a "ten-year plan" consisting of growing the sport in the country and focusing on player development. In 2014, the Germans went on to win the World Cup. With that being said, get rid of Bruce Arena as well. Arena seems to have a lack of connection with the players and isn't getting the most out of his group.
Whatever the case, the U.S. men's soccer team needs solutions and they need them quickly. The women's side for the United States has shown some backbone in the international scene. Now it's time for the men's side to do the same.
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