There is one silver lining to the U.S. men’s national soccer team missing the World Cup—all eyes will now be on the far-superior women’s team.
That’s the only upside to take from Tuesday night’s crushing loss to Trinidad and Tobago. The U.S. team has now officially missed qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
It is, in a word, tragic. Not because of the soccer itself (again, the women’s team is far, far better), but because of what we’ll all miss out on—a rare chance for everyone in the U.S. to get on the same team for just a few hours.
Such is life in Trump’s America. How ridiculous of me to think that we could have had such a moment. And on an own goal, no less.
US soccer team missing the World Cup due to an own goal is sadly a fitting metaphor of where the US is under Trump. It’s all own goals…
— Trita Parsi (@tparsi) October 11, 2017
The past two World Cups have been a blast. Soccer’s strong foothold in the U.S. has made the World Cup into the only time when the country really rallies around a single team. The Olympics are great and all, but there’s a ton of events.
The growth of soccer in the U.S. isn’t just about our home team. The U.S. is a major exporter of culture, but recently has also started to import some. English Premier League soccer has a small, fervent group of fans in America. U.S.-based Major League Soccer has taken a firm hold as a niche sport—and among the biggest draws in some major cities.
This has made the World Cup into a unique event. There’s just not that many times, if any, in which everyone in the U.S. is on the same page. And that’s the kind of moment we could really use right now.
Just watch this compilation video of reactions to Landon Donovan’s game winning goal from 2010:
U.S. men’s games in the World Cup had become events. Some 25 million Americans watched the 2014 2-2 draw versus Portugal. That’s not Super Bowl numbers, but the Super Bowl never turns into a patriotic event with the country all rooting for the same thing (unless you count rooting for good commercials).
And it was going to be in Russia! We had a prime chance for our guys to show out against the country that so brazenly messed with our 2016 election.
To protest Russia’s meddling in our presidential election, the U.S. men’s soccer team is going to boycott the World Cup in Russia next year.
— Andrew Freiden (@AndrewNBC12) October 11, 2017
Instead, we’ll have to watch as a bunch of other countries get to enjoy that kind experience, though far fewer Americans are now expected to care about the World Cup.
How much do people expect the U.S. absence to hurt American interest? Shares in Twenty-First Century Fox fell on the news.
FYI, the Women’s World Cup is in 2019. Get on the bandwagon now.