Before we do this, I want you to know that I know about “soccer guy.” I acknowledge that he exists and that he is obnoxious as hell. He’s that college roommate who studied in Valencia for a semester and suddenly professes undying love for “the beautiful game” then insists that “you just don’t understand” if you tell him you’re not into it. He most likely calls it “futbol” or “footie” and wears you out dropping names of players, teams, and stadiums with an accent that is obviously not his own.
I am not that guy. In fact, the natural next step is to give you my credentials, but that is precisely what soccer guy would do. And I would rather have you think that I’m an idiot than think that I am soccer guy. Anyway, I am not here to lecture you about why you should like soccer or why you should care about the calamity that took place on Tuesday night. Buuuuuuuut . . . as a founder/editor here, I reserve the right to commandeer this space for my own selfish purposes at any time. And today I am hurt/pissed/sad/mad/furious/pouty/livid/teary.
Missing the World Cup is unacceptable and embarrassing. The entire idea behind bringing back Bruce Arena as head coach was that he was a motivator of American soccer players. They were gonna embrace idiotic sports cliches like “play hard” and “give 110%” and “never quit” and “outwork the opponent.” I can confidently tell you that none of that happened in a match the Yanks HAD to have in order to qualify for next summer’s World Cup tournament in Russia. They showed up playing loser-ball, looking for a tie. And the tiny island nation made them pay for their loser mentality.
I feel like I didn’t use the word “loser” enough in that paragraph, so let me be clear about how I feel: Michael Bradley is a loser. He’s the captain and has been 97.4% terrible throughout qualifying. He couldn’t cut it at Roma and came back to play in MLS like a loser. Jozy Altidore is a coward who couldn’t cut it in a real league and came back to play in MLS like a loser. Omar Gonzalez is a loser. Bruce Arena can only win in MLS which is the hallmark of a loser. Our FA has a loser mentality when we worship losers like Landon Donovan. There is a portion of our fanbase with a loser mentality who helped force Jurgen out. Even the media surrounding US soccer seems to support this loser mentality. You sit there watching the US gag away a game they should win with ease and you rarely hear commentators holding the team’s feet to the fire. They make loser excuses: this field is really slow and clumpy; the officials are terrible; the home fans are hostile; the weather is too humid; we have too many injuries; the travel schedule is too grueling; it never ends.
After some of this hurt heals and a bit of the vitriol has subsided, I will write a column about hope. But right now I simply want to be on the record that this is not okay and I demand change. FA President Sunil Gulati has to go IMMEDIATELY. He’s the biggest loser of all the losers. He sucks at his job and has plagued us for too long. Along that vein, Arena should have been fired before the plane from Trinidad made its connection in Miami and Bradley shouldn’t have made it out of the locker room with the captain’s arm band still in his possession.
Once Gulati is gone, addressing the head coach position becomes top priority. I’m not inherently opposed to handing the head coach job to someone who is already in the system, but we have to rethink everything. We have to stop doing the safe/easy thing. Maybe Tab Ramos is the next Jose Mourinho (not likely), but I don’t want to hear that he gets the next crack at it because it’s convenient. I implore USA soccer’s governing body to seize this opportunity. We have to start thinking about qualifying for Qatar 2022 and, in my humble opinion, that means burning it to the ground and starting over. Engaging scorched earth protocol in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .