On June 1, the United States Men’s National Soccer Team defeated Turkey as part of their Send-Off series in preparation for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Goals from the USA’s Clint Dempsey and Fabian Johnson lifted the United States to a 2-0 lead before Selcuk Inan scored on a penalty kick with time winding down in the second half.
Prior to the game, the United States was ranked fourteenth in the world according to the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), while Turkey was ranked 39th. The game was held at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, which is home to the MSL’s New York Red Bulls.
This was the team’s first showing with its finalized 23-man roster. One of the notable names left off the roster was veteran Landon Donovan. Donovan is the all-time leader in International games played, goals scored and goals assisted. But as he is now up to 32 years of age, virtually ancient in the soccer community, he has been dismissed from the team in order to make room for younger players with brighter futures ahead of them.
Many Manual students, especially soccer players, are invested in the outcome of the World Cup for various reasons.
“I personally cannot wait for the World Cup to start. I know that me and my friends are all going hang out together and cheer on the team. I think that having a big viewing party will be the most exciting way to watch it,” said Emily Wilbar (12).
This is the one time every four years when everyone actually cares about soccer. Normally, people just sort of brush it aside because it is not seen as an important sport in America. People tend to care so much more about sports like basketball, football, and baseball. But this summer the entire country will join the rest of the world and focus on the soccer pitch in Rio de Janeiro.
“I normally do not care that much about soccer. I have played football since I was a little kid so I never really had time for it since they’re in the same season. But I pride myself in my patriotism, and any time the United States of America is engaging in an athletic competition I will support them loudly and proudly,” said George Dailey (12).
There are several notable additions to the team this year that were not present at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Julian Green is a midfielder from Tampa, Florida who made the team despite only being 18 years old. He is the youngest player to ever be selected for the final roster of a United States World Cup team.
The United States also has a new coach for its team this time around. Jurgen Klinsmann took over the team in 2011 after the United States lost to Ghana in 2010. As a player, he played for Germany from 1987-1998. He also coached the German National Team to a best-ever third place finish in the Confederations Cup in 2005.
The United States has not been dealt the best hand this year either in terms of the pool they will be in. Both Portugal and Germany are grouped with the United States, and FIFA has them ranked as the 2nd and 3rd best teams in the world.
“Although I am really sad that Landon Donovan will not be on the team this year, I’m still extremely excited to see how we do this year. Even though our pool is really difficult I still think we have a good shot,” said Carly Rodman (11).