Ever since the start of the FIFA World Cup this month, I’ve had this entry in mind. Well, it’s been on my mind for nearly eight years, seriously. The US National Team has advanced to the Round of 16 and nationwide excitement over the team and the tournament has been amazing. Aside from the players, the team has had a major identity shift thanks to their head coach, German-born Jurgen Klinsmann. (Quick bio, Klinsmann was the head coach of the German national team in 2006, leading them to a 3rd-place finish. And his playing career was a decorated one, winning the Cup as a player with West German in 1990.) As the Cup has progressed, he has proven to be a great coach…….which makes U.S. Soccer’s decision to hire him in 2011 all the more puzzling.
Back in December 2006, there were reports that Klinsmann had accepted the USA head coaching job, but the reports were quashed and such, and those reports surfaced after the US’s disastrous World Cup campaign, being eliminated in the Group Stage. And over the next five years, US Soccer was a roller coaster, with a lot of downs along the way (the 2010 World Cup loss to Ghana, the 2009 and 2001 CONCACAF Gold Cup Final defeats to Mexico and the collapse in the 2009 Confederations Cup Final to Brazil). After the World Cup in 2006, it was clear that the US National team needed to go in a different direction, so it’s still bothersome to me that US Soccer didn’t hire Klinsmann then, especially with what he’s done since taking over and with a roster in transition. And not just with his team and the pundits, the energy he’s brought overall has been rather infectious and humorous. (Attached below is a “sick note” he penned to American employers on the eve of the USA-Germany Group Stage match on June 26.) It may be sycophantic to give such glowing praise to one person, but Klinsmann has been a definite shot in the arm, not just for the national team, but for soccer in America overall. All the watch parties nationwide and massive television ratings can attest to that.
Which brings me to Ann Coulter……..how and why, you ask? Well, in the aftermath of the US-Germany match, Coulter brought herself into the spotlight, essentially denigrating soccer fans nationwide, saying “any growing interest in soccer can only be a sign of the nation’s moral decay.” She also added that in soccer, “there’s no “prospect of either personal humiliation or major injury” and that soccer is only popular in the country “because of the demographic switch effected by Teddy Kennedy’s 1965 immigration law.” After reading it in full, I was nauseatingly amused by her remarks, and that’s saying something considering her track record, especially in the wake of her “trolling” Michelle Obama just a few months ago. Rather than dissect the ignorance and hate spewed out by Miss Coulter, I’ll just address it with the retouched pic below, a pic of Miss Coulter herself:
In short, I am enjoying the World Cup and the progress the US National Team has made under Jurgen Klinsmann, the confidence to dig in and fight and win games that they normally would have lost, and that progression has been great for the game domestically overall. Soccer may never unseat one of the “Big Four” in the US, but it’s growing more and more, and I do appreciate that. It’s a shame that in some circles it’s met with such divisive and juvenile vitriol. But that is the world, isn’t it?
Anyways, this has gone on long enough, so thanks for entertaining me. Best wishes for a great end of the World Cup over the next two weeks. Until next time, thank you and fare thee well.