Even in Defeat, Hope for the Future
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Even in Defeat, Hope for the Future

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The US may have lost the World Cup, but there's definitely hope for future years.

The United States Men’s National Soccer Team may have fallento 2-1 to the Belgium National Team in the Round of 16 Knockout Stage, ending their hopes at the 2014 World Cup Finals, but the future is bright for USA Soccer.

The tournament featured standout performances from a number of young stars and consistent standouts for the US team. Tim Howard, the United States Goalkeeper, performed remarkably throughout the tournament, commanding the US defense with expertise and making a number of brilliant saves to deny the opposition from scoring. It was in the game against Belgium where Tim Howard was at his brilliant best; making a World Cup record 16 saves, starting in the first minute of the game all the way through the 120nd minute of overtime. While Howard has made no indications of whether he will play in the 2018 World Cup or not, Brad Guzan, at 25 years old is the starting goalkeeper for Aston Villa (one of the teams in the top division of England’s Premier League). 

Beyond the goalkeeping position, the team is full of promising young stars for the future. DeAndre Yedlin, a defender who plays for the Seattle Sounders of MLS, is only 20 years old yet came in as a substitute in several games and had a significant impact, including making a run that helped set up Clint Dempsey’s go ahead goal in the Portugal game. Julian Greene, a 19 year old midfielder who plays in Germany, entered the game against Belgium in extra time and scored with his first touch, closing the score to 2-1 and giving the US hope that they could level the score, although their efforts were ultimately unsuccessful. These are just a few of the talented young players providing hope for the future of USA soccer. 

Beyond the players on the team, this World Cup was remarkable for the way it grabbed the attention of an entire nation for several weeks, carrying along everyone from the diehard supporters to casual fans. From the beginning, optimism abounded, as USA’s incredible victory over Ghana provided a spark to American dreams of advancing from the so called ‘Group of Death’. In the game against Portugal, during a convenient viewing time of Sunday 6pm ET, an estimated 23.7 million people tuned in to watch the game. Those nearly 24 million, with crowds of thousands gathered in cities worldwide, shared in the joy of an incredible dominance over Portugal, as well as the heartbreak of a last minute equalizer to steal back the victory. For the crucial third game against Germany, approximately 20 million more tuned in to see the American team lose, yet still advance to the game against Belgium.   

I can also speak to my own experience, as someone who grew up playing soccer from a young age but only became a serious fan around 2008 or 2009. I remember watching the 2006 World Cup without any real attachment to any of the countries or players involved, but when the 2010 World Cup came around I was a strong supporter of our team and interested in the outcome of the tournament, even though I only knew some of the star players. 4 years later, I follow soccer passionately, including the English Premier League, the Italian Serie A, the Spanish La Liga (including my favorite team, FC Barcelona and my favorite player, Lionel Messi), and the German Bundesliga. Internationally, I could not wait to support the United States and cheer on our country, an experience that I feel was shared nationwide. We have an abundance of patriotism and pride in our country, and soccer is rapidly becoming a way to express those sentiments. While we may have ultimately come up short in this World Cup, our team’s resilience, the promise of our young plaers, and the growing American support for soccer demonstrate that we have a lot to look forward to for the future of USA soccer.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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