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Is the US Soccer Team Really Better?


After a week to reflect upon the 2014 World Cup from the USA perspective, the question needs to be asked – is the US soccer team really better now than we were in 2010? In the June 30, 2014 issue of Sports Illustrated, Grant Wahl states, “This is certain: A pragmatic and positive coach has transformed U.S. Soccer” (p. 41).

I rooted as hard for the US team as anyone through all four games, but now that the emotion has subsided; we really need to ask ourselves, has Jurgen Klinsmann really transformed US Soccer? Based on the objective evidence, I would say the answer is a resounding NO! In fact, our results were worse this year than they were in 2010 before Klinsmann became the US coach.

Group Play in 2010 saw the US win one game and tie two for a total of five points. This year the US won one, tied one, and lost one for a total of only four points. In 2010, we lost 2 – 1 in extra time in the round of 16. This year, we lost 2 – 1 in extra time in the round of 16. In fact, the first goal scored by the opposition in extra time of the first game of the knockout round came in exactly the same minute each time. Where is the transformation?

The US is still unable to score goals; having scored a total of five goals in four games. In contrast, James Rodriguez of Colombia scored six goals by himself; and the Netherlands scored five goals in one game, against the defending World Cup champions no less. In addition, the US ranked 31st of 32 teams in time of possession through Group Play. I ask again, where is the transformation?

I hope that eventually Jurgen Klinsmann will transform the US team and the US will actually be able to compete at the international level. At this point, the evidence indicates very clearly that no transformation has taken place.

Wahl, G. (2014). Sports . . .?#!*$^% sports. Sports Illustrated, 120(26). pp. 40-45.

Stephen L. Butler, Ed.D., the Dean of Academic Affairs at the United States Sports Academy, can be reached at sbutler@ussa.edu. Dr. Butler is a former season ticket holder of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old North American Soccer League and has been a huge soccer fan for over 30 years.




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