The U.S. Lost Their World Cup Bid, But Here's Exactly Why You Shouldn't Be (Too) Sad
We know, we know. The U.S. lost to Belgium on Tuesday, and we're sad. We're so sad. And we get to be sad, OK? That's just fine. But when we're done walking through the stages of grief and ready to see the not-quite-quarterfinal glass as half-full, there's actually a lot to be excited about when it comes to U.S. soccer and the men's national team.
First, we can take a look back at the tournament and remember all the naysayers who said we'd never make it out of the crazy-stacked Group of Death. Remember that? Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann does, and reminded Americans in an after-game interview on Tuesday that the U.S. had defied the expectations by advancing.
We can all be very very proud of this team. What they’ve done the last couple of weeks has been unbelievably outstanding. ... Everybody on the field just kind of gave everything he had. Everybody can be proud of their team.
Hear that, America? Everybody can be proud of their team. Hate to say it, but that's not always been true of the U.S. men's national team. But it is in 2014. That means we're looking at a bright future. Here are some reasons why.
1. We took on the best in the game, and came out looking good
The teams in America's group — Ghana, Portugal, Germany — are known as some of the world's best. The U.S. made it out of the group, partly thanks to a stunning game against Portugal. (We tied, but dominated that game.) We held our own against Germany and we beat our Ghanaian rivals, though the game wasn't exactly pretty. Not too shabby, really.
2. We got more invested in our team – and international soccer
Check out that crowd! The U.S.'s growing interest in international soccer, and its team's fate at the World Cup, is no small feat. The Portugal game was the most-watched soccer game in U.S. history. More fans may leave longtime USMNT fans crying fairweather foul, but overall, greater American interest and investment in the national team can only be a good thing.
3. Jurgen Klinsmann's sticking around
In a news conference on Tuesday, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann says he plans to hang around for the next World Cup in Russia. Along with goalie Tim Howard, this guy's emerging a real U.S. winner from the Cup, and with good reason; he's done a great job with the team.
4. The U.S. team has lots of great young talent
Klinsmann has a lot to work with moving forward, too. Several goal-scorers in the World Cup were young players who had just taken the field. John Brooks, 21, scored the winning header against Ghana; 19-year-old Julian Green scored the single goal against Belgium; 23-year-old Aron Johannsson has plenty to offer; and the sub in the Belgium game, 20-year-old DeAndre Yedlin, played a masterful game on Tuesday.
5. If all else fails, there's this
If none of that assuages your sadness, there's this: You ever hear about a European football team making it to the Super Bowl? Thought not.