The United States lost to Belgium 2-1 today. Despite that, I couldn’t be prouder of everyone involved in my country’s national team, from the players to the staff to the fans.
I’m proud of what a great job Jurgen Klinsmann has done with this team. He made bringing in German-Americans a focus. Clint Dempsey was the only person to score in this World Cup who wasn’t German-American. John Brooks, Jermaine Jones and Julian Green all scored and were all key for the USA. Fabian Johnson but was fantastic at right back all tournament. Klinsmann also has what I can only describe as balls. His decision to not take Landon Donovan was one that took balls and was also the right one. It signaled a new era in US soccer and was something that not every manager would’ve decided to do. Klinsmann also handled actually on-the-field tactics pretty well. Subbing on Yedlin against Portugal opened up the match and he was responsible for Dempsey’s goal. Klinsmann has proven time and time again that he is the right man for the job and I can’t wait to see him at Russia 2018.
I’m proud of Tim Howard, obviously. He’s started for Manchester United and Everton so it’s not as if he’s some unheard of guy like Raïs M’Bohli. But his performances this entire tournament have been absolutely world class. He has rescued the US time after time in this tournament and played like a world class goalkeeper. The USA has lots of decent, respectable players. But with Tim Howard the US has one of the very best players at his position. That’s fantastic for the USA and something every American soccer fan should be excited about.
I’m proud of DaMarcus Beasley’s career with the USA. He played in four World Cups, putting him in a club with members like Maradona, Pele and Thierry Henry. He’s never been the best player in any of the four USA squads, overshadowed by guys like McBride, Donovan, Dempsey and Howard. Despite this, Beasley has been one of the most important players in the history of the United States soccer and likely played his last World Cup game today. Thank you for everything DaMarcus, you’re a legend to the USA.
I’m proud of Julian Green. Julian Green was both hyped and criticized in the lead up the World Cup. He was described as the future of the USA and much hullabaloo was made when he confirmed his allegiance to the USA over Germany. But when he made the 23-man team over Landon Donovan, people questioned rather or not he really deserved a place in the squad and wondered if he was only getting the call up as part of a deal Klinsmann to get him to play with the USA. He was called a waste of a roster spot. But those 15 minutes out there today silenced every critic and doubter with his goal and overall performance. He will have four years of tutelage at Bayern Munich and could be the USA’s best player at Russia 2018 and Qatar* 2022.
I’m proud of the American Outlaws. The USA had amazing support at this World Cup and the American Outlaws a big part of that. They supported the USA not only at World Cup but at every friendly and qualifier. You can argue at great length rather or not soccer is the sport of the future, rather or not people really care about soccer and all that other stuff at length. But having a huge group of dedicated supporters means a lot and something of it’s size wouldn’t have existed 10 years ago.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, I’m proud of the fans who haven’t watched a game of soccer since the 2010. Your support was fantastic and it didn’t matter to me that you hadn’t watched a game in four years. Soccer is always this fun and it’s easily accessible if you have a basic cable package. NBC Sports Network shows the Premier League every weekend and Fox Sports 1 shows the Champions League on certain Tuesdays. Watch some more of it.
The USA gave myself and every other American fan a lot to be proud of. I can’t wait for Russia 2018.