Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Next World Cup Cycle (The Quest for the Semifinals)

After 4 short hours of classes, a quick lunch, and a speedy walk back to my dorm, I was able to sit down and watch the USAvCZE game live thanks to NBC Live Extra. Every single USA game is important to me, from "boring" international friendlies to exciting WCQ such as USA vs. Jamaica (thanks Brad Evans!) They give insight to the squad, and show strengths and weaknesses that are important to work on.

Brad Evans celebrating his late equalizing goal vs. Jamaica

Spikes in appreciation of US soccer always happen during the World Cup, but then what happens after? The true soccer fans stay and the country as a whole turns back to football or basketball (or worse... baseball). Why do fans gained in the World Cup lose interest? Most seem to believe that the World Cup is the only tournament that the US actually competes in. Who can blame them? It's the only tournament that the USA plays in that is nationally televised and advertised for. It's also the most competitive tournament that the US plays in. Sure, the Gold Cup comes every 2 years, but we play opponents such as Belize or Cuba. No one wants to watch those games. The games are barely even televised. This set up is totally different than our European counterparts. They know that once the World Cup ends, they only have to wait 2 years for the almost as popular Euro tournament. Qualifiers for the Euro even start less than 2 months after the end of the World Cup! This gives European fans more competitive games to watch, building more pride for a national squad.

Spain after winning Euro 2012

This World Cup cycle, US fans should be more excited than ever for the national team. In 2016, USA is hosting the Copa America. Usually, this tournament is reserved for teams from South America, but the tournament will be celebrating its 100th year, and the organizers have decided to celebrate by inviting the US and Mexico to participate. In this tournament, the US team will have the chance to play South American powerhouses such as Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. Because of this, Americans should look forward to the next four years of American soccer, and the chant "I believe that we will win" should be ringing in my ears as loud as ever before. 

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