Soccer: An All American Sport
With only one month until the much anticipated FIFA World Cup, there is a lot of hype going around these days in the world of USA soccer. The men’s national team, which will represent the United States of America at Johannesburg, South Africa for the 2010 World Cup. For those who are not avid followers of international competitive soccer, the World Cup only comes around every four years, and each time the event is held at a different location worldwide. The USA men’s national team began their training and preparation four years ago, once they were eliminated from the previous World Cup.
The team was appointed a new head coach; Bob Bradley, in 2007 and Bradley lead the USA national team to an important victory for both team moral and fan exposure against the Mexican national team. This game was held in Phoenix, Arizona so the crowd was composed of both Mexican fans and American fans due to Arizona and Mexico’s close proximity to each other. It was also in 2007 that the US men’s national team had an unexpected run all the way to the Gold Cup finals. They were matched up against Mexico in the finals and found themselves in the hole, down 1-0. The team stuck together and dug their way out of the hole, defeating the Mexican national team again, this time with a score of 2-1. Earning their way to Gold Cup champions really set the tone for USA soccer with Bob Bradley as head coach. No longer will USA soccer be considered a joke by the rest of the international soccer community; no longer will a team overlook a matchup against the USA men’s national team. This team is the real deal and has all the potential to make a championship run at the 2010 World Cup.
In order to make it to Johannesburg this June, the USA national team had to win their qualifying matches. These matches began taking place in 2008, and the teams that advanced from these preliminary qualifying rounds were then set to play in 2009 in the next qualifying stage. As stated before, the USA team is transforming into an elite soccer program and exhibited this in winning seven out of eight qualifying matches, defeating Mexico yet again in the fourth qualifying round. Not only did the USA men’s national team qualify for a birth into the 2010 World Cup, they did so with a first place seed. The group they were selected to is Group C, consisting of USA, England, Slovenia and Algeria. The first World Cup match that the USA plays is against England. This match is scheduled for June 12 and should be an exciting start to the 2010 World Cup for the USA men’s national team. They also are scheduled against Slovenia on June 18 and versus Algeria on June 23. After the teams play all three games, only then will they know which teams will advance to the next round of the tournament.