So, it's pretty obvious that I am a ravenous soccer fan. However, there is one subject that my friends and family, and the occasional poor passerby knows that you ABSOLUTELY under ANY circumstance DO NOT address with me, the U.S. Men's Team.
I am incredibly cynical about the team
As long as I have been watching soccer, I have continually tried to keep my hopes in my nation's national team, and they have continually let me down. The farthest that they have ever gone in the World Cup is placing third, which happened in 1930. They have won the CONCACAF cup five times, but it has not been consistent: 1991, 2002, 2005, 2007, and 2013. This would be more impressive, if they were not the third best ranked team in that division. Overall, internationally, they are ranked 28th. The fourth ranked team in the CONCACAF division is ranked 58th internationally.
Recently, there has been a change in the manager position. Several sports writers are incredibly optimistic about it, but I am not. Here are my ten thoughts about Bruce Arena's hiring, as your friendly neighborhood soccer-loving cynic.
1. Old Face, Same Ways
Arena has coached the men's team before. He was leading when the team had their worst result in the World Cup ever, losing in the first round in 2006. What can really change in 11 years?
2. Old Face, Same Success?? (Please)
Under Arena they did have their best finish since 1930, where they finished in the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup. Hopefully, he can bring about similar success to a team, and a country of fans that need it.
3. Consistently Eh
The team has been consistently mediocre, or as I would say eh. Since the FIFA rankings were created, they have been (on average) ranked 20th. That does not seem so bad until you look at the teams surrounding the US in today's rankings. They are one place above Iran and one place below Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosnia and Herzegovina have been in the rankings since 1996, and their best result was reaching third in their group in the 2014 World Cup.
The argument against this will of course be the victory over World Champion Spain in 2009. However, the US consistently loses/chokes against teams they have no business losing team. Honduras, ranked 47 places below the US, has consistently had the US's number in tournament and friendly play.
5. MLS Quality
A large majority of the US players play in the domestic league, the MLS. Although it has improved, it is still nowhere near the quality of the European leagues.
6. Soccer's Grip (or lack thereof)
Soccer has an iron grip on the rest of the world, with fans coming in droves, fanatically cheering for their teams. Some of the US leagues come close, but do not really reach the blinding fanaticism of soccer in Europe. There are simply too many popular sports in the US for soccer to break through. Nationally, the US only seems to unite behind the Olympic team every four years. Consistently cheering for a national team does not seem to be in the blueprint for the country.
7. Lack of Fans
The aforementioned lack of passion creates a lack of fans. A lack of fans creates a lack of spirit. Sports teams, like entertainers, need an audience, an audience of fans to ignite the passion and survive.
8. Maybe Soccer Isn't Our Sport, and we should be ok with that
The US tries to be the best at everything. The consistent mediocrity of the US Men's Team could be a sign that soccer is not this country's sport, and we should be ok with that, instead of trying to force something that will never happen, huge success at the international level.
9. Could Arena's return signal a Second Coming of the soccer variety?
10. Because the USMNT really needs some divine intervention
Forever cynical about this team,
An American soccer hooligan