Another loss on a major stage: Brazil 3, United States 2.
This is the epitaph in the wake of a heartbreaking loss in Sunday’s Confederations Cup championship game.
Too harsh? Perhaps, considering the United States was facing a great Brazilian team. On the other hand, there must come a point in the discussion of soccer in the United States when the training wheels must be removed. Either this is youth soccer, in which the goal is to let everyone play, or this is the big time, in which second or third place is no longer acceptable.
There was so much momentum heading into Sunday’s game, so much enthusiasm after the United States’ stunning victory over Spain on Wednesday.
Still, instead of talking about a great triumph, we’re back to talking about what United States soccer needs to break through at home.
Regardless of Sunday’s outcome, the sport faces two major challenges in the United States. The first is how to continue to attract great athletes. . .
American soccer’s struggle to attract great talent is baffling because there are so many young people looking for something to do. The United States is one of the most powerful nations, one with phenomenal human resources.
The sprawling soccer federations reflect the nation: some have a lot, some have very little. The leadership must find the will — and a way — to redistribute resources. This is crucial for the long-term goal of having a great national team, year in and year out.
The more difficult challenge is to cultivate a broader consumer appetite for soccer in the United States. Debates continue about changing the nature of the sport to fit the American mind-set.