In a shock to everyone in the soccer community, the United States has failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Going into the final round of qualifying matches, hopes were high for the U.S team. They were up against a Trinidad & Tobago team who were last place in the group, and knew a tie would be good enough to qualify. America could even lose the game if other results went their way. The nations behind them in the standings, Honduras and Panama, had tough matches against Mexico and Costa Rica.
Out of the 27 possible scenarios from the three matches, only one would have resulted in the U.S missing out on the World Cup.
However, the doomsday scenario that American fans feared came to fruition. America lost 2-1 to Trinidad and Tobago, while Panama and Honduras came from behind to win their matches. Just like that, the U.S was on the outside looking in.
Edgar Estrada, a freshman accounting major who plays for the Roosevelt soccer team, couldn’t believe the scene that was unfolding in front of him.
“It’s crazy. For a second I thought they already had a secured spot. The next thing you know this country I have never heard about keeps them from qualifying,” said Estrada.
Simply put, failing to qualify is a disaster for soccer in America. The growth of the sport in this country will suffer, as the exposure that a World Cup brings will be missing next summer.
“I know a bunch of guys who became fans of soccer during the last World Cup,” said freshman hospitality major Michael Friskics. “Next summer not nearly as many people will watch since America isn’t playing.”
This means fewer kids watching on their televisions at home, and a decrease in children playing the sport themselves. Lots of money will be lost as well, from broadcasting rights to merchandise sales.
There might just be a silver lining, no matter how thin it might seem at the moment. There are many problems with the current United States soccer federation, but the cracks were glossed over as the team was performing well. Now, this embarrassment will force change at the top of the hierarchy. No one in the program is safe, from the coach of the team, to the players, to the president of the federation itself. This revolution could lead soccer in America to new heights.
Roosevelt women’s soccer coach Roland Hahn understands this and hopes this present failure can benefit U.S soccer in the future.
“It’s an absolute embarrassment that the US failed to qualify for Russia,” he said. “But a lot of good can come of this. A complete review must be done on how we develop and identify the top talent in this country to put us on top.”
Although it seems doom and gloom at the moment, he maintains expectations for the future.
“Soccer at this level can be very cyclical, but I have no doubt we’ll be there for the World Cup in 2022,” said Hahn.
At this moment, however, 2022 seems a lot further away than five years.