Why American Soccer Isn't Working

General PattonContributor IJuly 16, 2010

HARRISON, NJ - JULY 15:  Thierry Henry walks out onto the field prior to a press conference on July 15, 2010 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for New York Red Bulls)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The New York Red Bulls made a huge signing—that I didn't even know about until I sat down to write this column.

They brought an old and past-his-prime Thierry Henry from Europe to play in the MLS.  Woo-hoo.

If "soccer people" in America were paying attention, they would have noticed that David Beckham came to L.A. for a "pretty penny" and played with America's "best player," Landon Donovan.

You know what happened? 

They lost the MLS Cup Final to Real Salt Lake and some guy named Robbie Findley—who didn't do a doggone thing for the USA World Cup team at South Africa 2010.

If you think this piece is dripping with sarcasm—you're right. Woo-hoo America! You got an old, washed-up player to feature alongside two guys—Donovan and Beckham—who begged for loans to European teams as soon as the MLS season was over.

Donovan went to Everton of the EPL—a marginal team at best—and Beckham went to Italy because he's got a big name.

Let's keep it real. David Beckham was good a decade ago—never approached true greatness—and only became super-famous when he married a Spice Girl. Sorry, that's the real truth. This is who "America" thought they would bring over to pump up the visibility of American soccer. It didn't work. He got hurt. Now he's in Italy.

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Landon Donovan is 28—he looks 38—and he can barely play for a marginal English team. That's a problem. He's the best we have?

American soccer at the World Cup—under the control of coach Bob Bradley—attempted to "feature" Donovan while keeping better players on the bench. Edson Buddle was left off the starting lineup of matches because—well, I don't know why. Basically, Bradley is inept. The only smart thing he did was put his kid on the team. Michael Bradley is a stud!

The combination of relying on old and washed-up talent, a TERRIBLE national team coach, and a general lack of "hustle" makes American soccer boring as hell.

This is the point at which most people who want to apologize for American soccer will stop reading. Keep going—you'll see something that NO ONE commented on during the World Cup.

Besides the fact that U.S. soccer is one the verge of a "France-like" meltdown, the Americans are lazy as hell. My prime example?

Remember that U.S.-Ghana game that everyone in America watched, where the U.S. team let America down? Remember the go-ahead goal that Ghana scored? Remember the Ghana player running down the field with a defender alongside him and another defender trailing the play?

The Ghana player turned to his left and booted the game-winner with his left foot. Do you know who the "trailing" U.S. player was? Carlos Bocanegra.

As the Ghana player turned the corner, Bocanegra threw his head up in the air and stopped running. Had he continued to run, it is conceivable that he could have been in line with the ball as the shot was taken because it was crossing from left to right into the right side of the American goal.

Unfortunately for America, Bocanegra is lazy and has no expectations for himself or his team. He stopped running out a play that put the Americans out of the World Cup. 

So, after the U.S. team lost, everyone applauded them for being "successful" at the World Cup—even though they did practically nothing and seldom got a good look at the goal.

Let me ask you a question—if your favorite team was as lazy as the American soccer team, would give them the kind of slack U.S. soccer is getting?

No, you wouldn't. Not in a million years.

My wife is a hardcore Reds fan. They lose a game and she goes NUTS. The Yankees miss the playoffs and the city is on the verge of burning down.

The Celtics crumble at the end of Game Seven, and all of New England is ready to blow up the whole franchise.

US soccer plays lazy at the World Cup—Carlos Bocanegra quits on the play that put the Americans out of the World Cup—and the U.S. team is a bunch of heroes.

I don't think so.

Start evaluating these men the way you evaluate your favorite team. If you don't, they'll stay lazy and disappoint you every four years. 

Change your tune, America, or 2014 is just going to be another year of "dashed hopes" at the World Cup.

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