Tuesday, June 13, 2006

American Spirit? Where is it?

There was one aspect of yesterdays game versus the Czech Republic that I didn't see, and that was passion. The players didn't seem to have a passion to play today.

As Americans, we are a very proud country. Remember Lake Placid...1980, U.S. v. Soviet Union. The Miracle. Of course.

American teams (expect basketball) seem to fight until the end. We always show our fighting spirit in the Olympics. Whatever the sport, we seem to have a good showing.

And then we have the underdogs, like Sasha Cohen, the 1980 Mens hockey team, etc...

But, for some reason, that spirit doesn't pass to soccer. And it didn't seem like our soccer team had that 'do or die American Spirit.'

This seems to be the only national team in the U.S. that really doesn't play for 'America'. I think that is because the American media and public undermind our chances to win. And when we have a display like we did yesterday, that just confirms their fears that we aren't as good as the FIFA rankings make us.

It seems that our team isn't playing for anything. They seem to have no drive. I think that the U.S. Soccer Federation really needs to get a PR machine going to make people 'proud' of their team. They also need to make their players feel 'proud' to play for us as well.


Sams Army said...

A very good piece- nice point.

Tim L said...

Soccer is very much a sport with a cult following here in the USA. While people like me watch the World Cup but don't follow soccer otherwise, I do not think anyone has a particular attachment to the US National Team. Sure we hope they win, but as someone who doesn't normall watch soccer, I tune into the World Cup because it is an event of high stature and because the quality of play is exciting. This leads someone like me to be more interested in when Brazil or France is playing then when the USA is playing. Just me two cents.

Gator said...

A problem with both the American and English teams -- believing the hype about their teams.

Underperforming is the inevitible result.

Federico said...

I am a Mexican who roots for Mexico first and the USA second. The USA media hates the beautiful game and has done these boys no favors with their anti-soccer bias.

While people can complain about the performance of the USA team yesterday, the grand run to the quarter-finals in 2002 which should have ben the semi-finals was probably met with less enthusiasm here than any previous quarterfinal run by any nation in history. In fact had Hugh Dallas made the same call against Germany he would have been a dead man walking so to speak, but since he made against the USA nothing happened.

I feel that US Soccer deserves better but that it is not something they can control. It is the fault of the media that embraces meaningless sports with little international following like NASCAR Racing and Celebrity Golf.

Rafael said...

The USA is normally very scrappy but yesterday they were nothing short of awful. No leadership on the field. I'd bench Keller and put in Howard and also strip Reyna of the captain's armband and give it to someone young and fiery, maybe Clint Dempsey if he plays or Bobby Convey. It's now or never. The squad has to be shook up big time.

Hernandez said...

The usa public will never embrace football because they need sports they can dominate in, where the tactical brilliance and slow build up out of the back can be a great equalizer. americans only embrace sports where they dominate everybody else.

Hernandez said...

The usa public will never embrace football because they need sports they can dominate in, where the tactical brilliance and slow build up out of the back can be a great equalizer. americans only embrace sports where they dominate everybody else.

the coach said...

Bruce Arena needs to be fired!

When will the US Soccer Federation understand that the man is no good. Look at every other US sport, the coaching turnover is almost needed so that some fresh talent gets a chance. I am sure the Portland Seadogs or the Rochester Rhinos would have played the Czech Republic a whole hell of a lot tougher.

With every kid in the US growing up playing soccer, why is it next to impossible to see some new faces out there?

We coyld dominate Rugby too if our US football players were so damn over-priced cry babies.

Kartik said...

The Coach, don't worry Arena's tenure with the US MNT is OVER if we do not get a result versus Italy. I completely share your frustrations. I do not believe calling players out in the media is the way to hold the team together either. Arena will be let go much like Gansler, Bora and Sampson were in a few months.....in fact Bora I believe was kept on after we did well in WC 94 with so-so talent and then got fired after a disasterous friendly against England in London, a match that looked fantastic when compared with Monday's performance.

I am not anti-Arena but also realize that in Int'l Soccer coaches have a 3-5 year shelf life and Arena has exceeded it......in fact he is easily the longest tenured coach of any WC nation and yet we produced arguably the most inept peformance thus far in Germany....is that a coincidence?

Several times under Arena we have under achived including in qualifying for the 2002 WC where we almost got knocked out in the 2nd round and then finished third behind Costa Rica and Mexico. We had a great World Cup and for that Arena deserves credit, but our perofmance at the 2003 Confederations Cup was an embarresment that nobody noticed because people only pay attention to soccer every four years here. Also, while Arena did a credible job for the 2002 World Cup in his selections by taking the 23 best players including an out of shape Clint Mathis, a choice that helped us: Mathis scored a goal and set up two others, this time Arena clearly played favorites in the selections. How the hell is Ben Olsen who has't been fully fit in what seems like years on the World Cup roster, but Steve Ralston a classier midfielder who can push the ball down the right side left off. Why the hell was Brian Ching who just a few years ago was an obscure USL player who then benefited from playing alongside Rosario and Donovan with San Jose picked over Taylor Twellman?????

When coaches stay to long they become unaccountable and stale. Sadly, you are probably right about Arena.

Our next hire needs to be a respectable international coach. No more hiring MLS and American college coaches. We will never truly advance as a soccer playing nation if we don't make the right hire next time. Look at what Gus Hiddnik did for Korea and now Australia. Roger LeMarre is doing a good job with Tunisia right now. Those nations I'm sure would love to promote native coaches but realize to be successful they need to pick the best coaches who have had international success with their native countries and have them help to build a lasting foundation.

the coach said...

I would love to see our next MNT coach be a Mexican! Someone from a nation (on our side of the world) that knows about passion and playing tough, mean, soccer, with a touch of class.

You want contoversy and competition, look no further than poaching someone from your nearest rival to shake things up.

Both baseball and Hockey cant seem to keep teams in international cities (Canada). Perhaps the MLS can transcend borders and with such passion in Mexico, open a team there. Chivas USA!? How about Jim Beam MEX or JD No.7 MEX?