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Friday, May 24, 2024

Column: After U.S. men’s soccer loss, it's important not to forget about the women’s team

<p>The United States failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.</p>

The United States failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The United States men’s soccer team lost to Trinidad and Tobago a week ago, knocking out any chance of the U.S. making the World Cup in Russia next year.

And no one really knew how to respond.

Just the sheer thought of the mighty U.S. not being a part of one of largest sporting events in the world was enough to create fan backlash at both the program and the players. There were some people who chose to focus on the U-17 team and its run in the U-17 World Cup in India, claiming that “All is not lost in US Soccer,” as one fan wrote on Twitter.

All of these comments, I can understand. This is the first time since 1986 the country hasn’t qualified for the World Cup, so for a portion of Americans, it’s unusual not to see the Yankees competing.

However, some soccer experts took to TV to make the statement that U.S. soccer needs to change.

“If this failure doesn’t wake up everyone from U.S. soccer to Major League Soccer to pay-to-play to broadcasters to everything, then we’re all insane,” former U.S. player and ESPN analyst Taylor Twellman said after the loss.

Comments like Twellman’s struck a chord with me. Not because we all have this unrealistic idea that America should be one of the greatest soccer teams in the world, but because of the other side of the criticism.

U.S. soccer is already great. Or, at least the part of it that has won three World Cups and four Olympic gold medals.

I’m talking about the women’s team, something most Americans seem to forget when discussing U.S. soccer this past week. To say that American soccer as a whole is a failure is to say that our women are failures too.

But no one wants to talk about them. Even when they won the World Cup in 2015, the women still took a backseat at times to the men’s team and other American sports.

They’ve accomplished more in the last 26 years than the men’s team has in its entire existence.

And as someone who grew up watching both the men’s and women’s team, it’s puzzling to me that not enough people pay attention, just because they aren’t the men’s team.

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I understand how big of an issue it is that the men didn’t qualify, but it's important not to knock on the accomplishments that the program has already put in place.

You can follow Jake Dreilinger on Twitter @DreilingerJake, and follow him on Twitter jdreilinger@alligator.org.

The United States failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

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