Crystal fut-ball: Soccer to stay

Staff Writer
The Destin Log

Matt’s Take:

For a handful of weeks, the United States came together with a sense of pride as the United States Men’s National Team embarked on Brazil for the World Cup.

As a former soccer player, it nearly brought tears to my eyes to see our NFL-dominated society embrace futbol, as the rest of the world knows it. Sure, soccer will never be as popular as any of the four major North American sports, but during the world cup, soccer takes center stage.

After being bounced by Belgium in the Round of 16, the USMNT may have left Brazil disappointed, but the future is bright for this group, which was evident by the beauty of a goal scored by the young Julian Green.

Sure, there will be some turnover, but that’s expected. Don’t expect to see Tim Howard, Clint Dempsey or Jermaine Jones when the World Cup hits Russia in 2018, as they will all be 35 years old, or older.

With John Brooks, who scored on a gem of a shot, and Green on the roster, as well as DeAndre Yeldin and the yet unproven Luis Gil and prospect Gyasi Zardes, the future looks pretty bright for US Soccer.

While I would love to say, confidently, that the USMNT has the talent moving forward to win the World Cup, it’s just not realistic, and I don’t know that it ever will be. But, with a talented group of youngsters currently playing the game, there is no reason why this team cannot advance past the Round of 16.

The best World Cup finish for the USMNT was third place, which is pretty impressive given that soccer isn’t a top sport in this country. Mind you, this was in 1930, but hey, it still happened.

The future of US Soccer and the USMNT is on an upward trend, and I couldn’t be any happier.

But don’t expect soccer to become “America’s Pastime” anytime soon.

Andrew’s Take:

Rejoice! Soccer is here to stay!

Remember back in 1994, when the United States hosted the World Cup? The few soccer enthusiasts that existed knew that soccer was going to take over.

But here we are, 20 years later, and their game is still battling tennis and golf for popularity.

Sure, there have been tremendous strides, but here’s the reality: Soccer is never going to take America by storm.

Those of you with terrible hand-eye coordination have been waiting for the day when soccer players reign supreme amongst American athletes, but it’s not going to happen.

The best that America can offer is fourth place. Football and basketball are, forever, No. 1 and No. 2 in this country. And it seems like baseball is, solidly, stuck in third.

If I were you, soccer, I would concentrate on hockey, and the capturing of the audience from which the National Hockey League is retreating.

Here’s what you need to do:

First, quit crying.

It’s obvious. The most prideful of soccer fans will say, “It’s all a part of the game.” But that’s the problem. We see how ashamed you are when your athletes roll around, acting like they’re injured. It’s embarrassing, and completely un-American. You need to give yellow cards for that crap.

Second, get the calls right.

Every American sport, even crotchety ole’ baseball has instant replay. Americans want justice, and when the wrong team wins, their sense of “right” is not served. No sport is better suited for instant replay than soccer.

And now, there’s talk of bringing the 2022 World Cup to America, since Qatar can’t get their act together.

If, in the next eight years, FIFA can make these very simple concessions, they will get a piece of the sweet, prosperous American pie.