Soccer

World Cup failure prompts calls for US soccer 'revolution'

Posted October 11

FILE - In this April 10, 2017, file photo, Sunil Gulati, President of the United States Soccer Federation, attends a news conference in New York.A bumbling, stumbling, tumbling qualification campaign ended with a 2-1 loss to an already eliminated Caribbean nation. Now comes the fallout, which almost surely will lead to a new coach and possibly to a new head of the U.S. Soccer Federation. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

— When soccer holds its world's fair in Russia next June, the American pavilion will be glaringly absent.

A bumbling, stumbling, tumbling World Cup qualifying campaign ended Tuesday night with a calamitous 2-1 loss to already eliminated Trinidad and Tobago, the 99th-ranked nation in the world, when merely a tie was necessary to eke out the final automatic World Cup berth from one of soccer's weakest regions.

"Unacceptable," tweeted former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala, a U.S. Soccer Federation board member. "For us in USSoccer more than a wake-up call. Time for revolution. Need long term plan that is smart."

After American soccer's Waterloo, the fallout almost surely will lead to a new coach and possibly a new USSF head. There also figure to be calls for a reexamination of the player development structure, from youth teams through academies designed with the hope of producing elite prospects.

"There is no denying that this is a setback for all of us involved with the game in our country," Major League Soccer said in a statement.

New York Cosmos owner Rocco Commisso, chairman of the lower-level North American Soccer League that has sued the USSF, called for federation President Sunil Gulati to resign along with board members and senior administrators he put in place.

"In the almost 12 years during which Sunil Gulati has been the USSF's president, little or nothing has been done to enhance our prospects," Commisso said in a statement. "The leadership of U.S. Soccer has failed all of its stakeholders: players, fans, sponsors and those of us who have invested in professional soccer. Getting back on track requires fundamental change in the structure and management of the sport in our country, starting with a change in the federation's leadership."

While fans fulminated over the front office, the next national team coach must instigate a ruthless roster purge. The Tim Howard/Clint Dempsey/Michael Bradley era is over, and pretty much any player older than 26 will be past his past his prime when the World Cup in Qatar kicks off in November 2022. The Americans won't even play a competitive match for nearly two years, until the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

By then, Christian Pulisic, at 19 already the top American, should be surrounded with other players on the rise, such as 19-year-old midfielder Weston Mckennie, who has started Schalke's last three games in the German Bundesliga. Haji Wright, a 19-year-old winger loaned from Schalke to second-division Sandhausen, is another top prospect along with forward Josh Sargent, who agreed last month to sign with Werder Bremen on his 18th birthday in February

Matt Miazga and Cameron Carter-Vickers should be tested in defense as the team reorients to 2022.

A shocked Gulati was measured in his reaction.

"You don't have wholesale changes based on the ball being 2 inches wide or 2 inches in," he said. "We will look at everything, obviously, and all of our programs, both the national team and all the development stuff. But we've got a lot of pieces in place that we think are very good and have been coming along."

The U.S. returned to the World Cup in 1990 after a 40-year absence, and soccer grew at an exponential rate, helped by the U.S. hosting the tournament in 1994. Major League Soccer launched two years later; cable television and the Internet brought top European clubs to American televisions and later laptops and cell phones.

European clubs discovered there was huge money to be made by playing preseason exhibitions across the pond, growing the sport's audience.

American sponsors started treating soccer like a major sport, if not at the level of the NFL, baseball and the NBA, at least as prominent as the NHL, golf and tennis.

Still, the national team peaked with its quarterfinal appearance at the 2002 World Cup. The U.S. failed to qualify for the 2012 and 2016 men's Olympic soccer tournaments, a generational talent gap evident when a creaky defense repeatedly broke down during qualifying. There were no young goalkeepers considered challengers to Howard and Brad Guzan.

"This has been coming for a while. I think it's just kind of been building up," former U.S. defender Marcelo Balboa said Wednesday.

Elected head of the USSF in 2006 after a quarter-century helping build the national team and federation, Gulati has not said whether he will seek a fourth and final four-year term in February.

More immediately, a decision must be made on whether the national team plays exhibitions during the November fixture dates and who will coach. Bruce Arena, brought back when Jurgen Klinsmann was fired last November after a 0-2 start in the hexagonal, figures to depart later this year or next.

Among the possible American candidates are Tab Ramos, coach of the U.S. under-20 team since 2011; Peter Vermes, coach of Sporting Kansas City since 2009; and Huddersfield manager David Wagner. Atlanta United's Tata Martino, a former coach of Argentina and Barcelona, is among the foreigners who could be considered. An interim coach is a possibility.

Surprisingly, Arena said no major shifts need to be made in the federation's operations.

"There's nothing wrong with what we're doing," he maintained. "Certainly I think as our league continues to grow, it benefits the national team program. We have some good young players coming up. Nothing has to change. To make any kind of crazy changes I think would be foolish. We're building a good system in our professional league. We have players playing abroad of some quality. There's enough there."

Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
Listen & Watch
  • HighSchoolOT Live

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on WRAL-2

  • Football Friday

    Tomorrow at 11:35 pm on WRAL-TV

  • ACC Football: Pittsburgh @ Duke

    Saturday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • College Football: Southern Cal @ Notre Dame

    Saturday at 7:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NASL Soccer: San Francisco @ North Carolina FC

    Saturday at 7:30 pm on WRAL-2

  • The Logan Zone

    Sunday at 11:00 am on WRAL-TV

  • Motor Sports: Formula 1 Racing - Austin

    Sunday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Atlanta @ New England

    Sunday at 8:20 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL Football Carolina Panthers at Chicago Bears

    Sunday at 12:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL Football Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers

    Sunday at 5:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • MLB Playoffs Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers Game 7 (if necessary)

    Sunday at 6:30 pm on 95.7 The Ticket

  • NFL Football Atlanta Falcons at New England Patriots

    Sunday at 7:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

AP Top 25
Thu, Oct 19
25
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
Preview
Sat, Oct 21
10
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
Preview
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
Preview
5
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
1
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
8
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
18
20
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
14
9
1:00 PT2:00 MT3:00 CT4:00 ET8:00 GMT4:00 北京时间1:00 MST3:00 EST
Preview
16
4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET11:00 GMT7:00 北京时间4:00 MST6:00 EST
Preview
24
4:15 PT5:15 MT6:15 CT7:15 ET11:15 GMT7:15 北京时间4:15 MST6:15 EST
Preview
21
4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET11:30 GMT7:30 北京时间4:30 MST6:30 EST
Preview
11
4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET11:30 GMT7:30 北京时间4:30 MST6:30 EST
Preview
13
19
4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET11:30 GMT7:30 北京时间4:30 MST6:30 EST
Preview
2
23
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
Preview
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
Preview
4
7:45 PT8:45 MT9:45 CT10:45 ET2:45 GMT10:45 北京时间7:45 MST9:45 EST
Preview
15
NFL Scoreboard
Thursday, Oct. 19
Kansas City 5:25 PT6:25 MT7:25 CT8:25 ET0:25 GMT8:25 5:25 MST7:25 EST7:25 CT4:25 UAE (+1)20:25 ETNaN:�
Preview
Oakland 
Sunday, Oct. 22
Tampa Bay 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Buffalo 
Carolina 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Chicago 
Tennessee 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Cleveland 
New Orleans 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Green Bay 
Jacksonville 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Indianapolis 
Arizona 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
LA Rams 
NY Jets 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Miami 
Baltimore 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Minnesota 
Dallas 1:05 PT2:05 MT3:05 CT4:05 ET20:05 GMT4:05 1:05 MST3:05 EST3:05 CT0:05 UAE (+1)16:05 ETNaN:�
Preview
San Francisco 
Denver 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET20:25 GMT4:25 1:25 MST3:25 EST3:25 CT0:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ETNaN:�
Preview
LA Chargers 
Seattle 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET20:25 GMT4:25 1:25 MST3:25 EST3:25 CT0:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ETNaN:�
Preview
NY Giants 
Cincinnati 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET20:25 GMT4:25 1:25 MST3:25 EST3:25 CT0:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ETNaN:�
Preview
Pittsburgh 
Atlanta 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 MST7:30 EST7:30 CT4:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ETNaN:�
Preview
New England 
Monday, Oct. 23
Washington 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 MST7:30 EST7:30 CT4:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ETNaN:�
Preview
Philadelphia 
Minor League Baseball
International League
Memphis 4:07 PT5:07 MT6:07 CT7:07 ET12:07 GMT
Durham 
ATP Scoreboard
Wednesday, Oct. 18
Intrum Stockholm Open (ATP)
First Round
P. Herbert2 6 3   
J. Janowicz6 3 6   
M. Copil77 4 612   
J. Struff62 6 714   
V. Troicki6 6    
S. Bolelli3 3    
(5) M. Zverev1 7 6   
M. Ymer6 5 4   
Second Round
(8) F. Verdasco6 6    
J. Zopp4 2    
(6) F. Fognini6 3 79   
E. Ymer4 6 67   
(3) J. Sock6 6    
J. Chardy4 4    
 
European Open (ATP)
First Round
C. Stebe6 4 0   
S. Darcis4 6 1   
Second Round
J. Sousa5 6 6   
S. Stakhovsky7 4 4   
H. Laaksonen1 1    
J. Benneteau6 6    
(3) N. Kyrgios77 3 3   
R. Bemelmans63 6 6   
 
Kremlin Cup (ATP/WTA)
First Round
M. Basic3 6 5   
B. Kavcic6 3 1   
A. Kuznetsov4 6 66   
D. Medvedev6 2 78   
Second Round
D. Sela7 6    
R. Dutra Silv5 1    
(6) D. Dzumhur4 7 6   
Y. Bhambri6 5 4   
(3) A. Mannarino6 77    
L. Rosol3 64    
(4) P. Kohlschrei77 61 3   
A. Seppi64 77 6   
 
WTA Scoreboard
Wednesday, Oct. 18
BGL Luxembourg Open (WTA)
Second Round
(5) E. Mertens6 0 6   
M. Brengle2 6 3   
(3) A. Kontaveit4 4    
H. Watson6 6    
C. Witthoeft6 6    
E. Rodina2 3    
(7) B. Haddad Mai6 65 2   
J. Larsson3 77 6   
P. Parmentier7 6    
V. Cepede Roy5 1    
(2) K. Bertens6 2    
A. Petkovic2 1    
S. Lisicki6 5 3   
N. Broady4 7 6   
M. Puig77 77    
A. Van Uytvan62 61    
 
Kremlin Cup (ATP/WTA)
Second Round
(7) J. Goerges6 6    
Y. Putintseva3 3    
(2) C. Vandeweghe5 6 2   
L. Tsurenko7 1 6   
(4) A. Sevastova4 3    
I. Begu6 6    
(1) K. Mladenovic2 6 2   
A. Sasnovich6 2 6   
K. Siniakova2 3    
D. Kasatkina6 6    
(6) D. Gavrilova3 1    
V. Lapko6 3    
(8) M. Rybarikova1 0    
A. Cornet6 0    
(3) E. Vesnina63 4    
N. Vikhlyants77 6