US Soccer in Review: Top 10 Moments of the Last 5 Years

Ned HarwoodContributor IIIDecember 31, 2011

US Soccer in Review: Top 10 Moments of the Last 5 Years

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    Stop and think: can you remember where US Soccer was five years ago? Can you remember the lack of action and lack of excitement that surrounded the beautiful game in America for decades prior to the recent revolution?

    Looking back, it was silly to think we were satisfied with the relatively few great moments that were few and far between for so long. The last five years have featured some incredible breakthroughs for the sport in the states and some memorable moments as well.

    If you want to relive the greatness that has gotten the sport to where it is today in the USA, click through this slideshow of highlights. 

Feilhaber's Gold Cup Wondergoal

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    Not only was this wonderstrike one of the best goals of the decade, it instigated a chain-reaction of US soccer brilliance in the following years. The goal brought the US its fourth Gold Cup title and earned the USMNT a bid into the 2009 Confederations Cup. The goal was a stepping stone to some great moments, including…

One Night in Bloemfontein, Spanish Upset

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    Simply put, it was an upset for the ages. The win not only sent the USA to the Confederations Cup Final but earned global respect from nations who seemed to never share a passing glance with the USMNT. Spain might have been able to beat us nine times out of 10, but on a random Wednesday in South Africa, fate led the USA to greatness. 

A Goal for Charlie, Costa Rica Thriller

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    The final game of the USA’s WCQ Campaign would have had little to no relevance if it weren’t for Charlie Davies’ devastating car accident the night before. In the 90th minute, with the crowd anxious about Charlie and the losing result, 26,000 strong held up signs with the No. 9 to honor the striker and pray for some good news.

    Our prayers were heard. as Jonathan Bornstein headed in a game-tying goal with just seconds remaining and helped the USA take home first place in the CONCACAF region. Hours later, Charlie Davies was released from the hospital and began his miraculous journey back to professional soccer.

    A feel good story all around. 

Charlie Davies' Emotional Return

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    It was hard not to shed a tear when seeing Charlie Davies step up and slot home his first professional goal since a fatal car crash just two years before.

    The inspiring goal demonstrated what hard work and determination can do and how people should never give up on their dreams. It was a step in the right direction for Charlie Davies, and hopefully a step that leads him back to the Stanky Legg with Jozy Altidore someday.

    A short documentary of the emotional moment can be seen to your left. 

Wambach "Saves the USA's Life"

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    It could very well be the goal that changes how women’s soccer is portrayed by the general American public in the next 10 years. The beauty, the drama, and the poetic justice all made this moment one that the sporting world just couldn’t stop talking about for weeks after.

    However, the impact it has had on the WPS could truly be the reason Wambach’s wondergoal is forever remembered as a marvelous moment years from now. 

Seattle Sounders Come to MLS

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    Whether you like the club or not, the Seattle Sounders changed the MLS for the better when they arrived in 2009.

    Their devoted fan base has impressed the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Alex Ferguson. Their commitment to the US Open Cup has created a new standard of excellence for teams across the country who play in the tournament. Their initial success is what inspired Don Garber to bring in their surrounding Cascadia neighbors, who now make up arguably the greatest rivalry in the United States.

    The Seattle Sounders organization has been nothing short of a blessing for the developing league and American soccer in general. 

MLS Finally Wins in Mexico

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    It was a moment of little recognition and media attention, but an impressive accomplishment nonetheless.

    In August, for the first time in history, an American club (FC Dallas) defeated a team in Mexico in a competition. Following the historic breakthrough, the Seattle Sounders upended reigning CCL Champions Monterrey on the road, proving that the league is no longer the MPL’s little brother in North America.

    These two wins will provide unprecedented confidence in MLS teams in the future looking for a result below the border.

MLS Signs with NBC

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    The MLS’ historic signing with broadcasting powerhouse NBC will go down as one of the most significant moments in MLS history.

    It more than doubled the amount of homes the league will reach in 2012 due to Versus being included on cable television.  The deal also boosts the amount of MLS games being shown on television (In English) to 62, more than twice the amount of games that were on TV just five years ago. Finally, the deal was worth more than three times FSC’s three million dollar contract for the 2011 season.

    Everything about this deal screamed historic, and that is why it gets a spot on this list

Beckham's MLS Arrival

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    It was the signing that changed everything for the MLS back in 2007.

    Beckham’s departure for America was revolutionary and paved the way for tons of other European stars to test out the league since. No Beckham means no Henry, Marquez, Frings, or Keane.

    Now try imagining the MLS without those stars today and understand the importance of the Beckham experiment. 

The Goal Heard Around the World

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    It was the perfect moment to cap off a magnificent decade of US soccer on the biggest stage. Everyone remembers where they were when it happened. The “Shot Heard Around the World” rocked bars that were previously never associated with soccer, transformed haters into believers, and single-handedly created a US Soccer landmark that won’t soon be forgotten.

    Words can’t even describe it, so I’ll let America’s reaction define the moment.