During all the excitement with the World Cup this summer, I was asked an interesting question. “Do you think the U.S. men’s team will win a World Cup in your lifetime?”
It seems like a simple yes or no question, but in reality, the question has a significantly more complex answer.
In order for the team to raise their level, the rest of the country must join in.
More and more fans are popping up everywhere and the growth is definitely positive. More people in the U.S. watched the World Cup this summer than ever before, but comparatively to the rest of the world, we were but a small speck on the overall rating charts
U.S. fans saw the soccer following this summer as big, but we need to realize that it really wasn’t compared to what it could be. I don’t want to be negative, but unless the quality of the U.S. men’s soccer team improves, we’re not there yet.
As a soccer player, the continued growth in interest excites me and leads me to believe more fans will come to our soccer games this season. Although that last part may not happen, I’m still thrilled to see people get into the sport more and more each year.
An interesting statistic from this past World Cup came from a sample of fans from every country competing who were asked if they believed their team would win the World Cup. The country with the highest percentage of believers was Brazil, the U.S. was a close second.
Those of you who follow the World Cup know Brazil actually had a great chance of winning and were picked to win on most pre-tournament rankings. Not only has Brazil won more World Cups than any other country, but it was also the host nation this summer and had some of the top players in the world on its team.
The U.S., in contrast, was predicted to not win a single game. In case you missed it, we ended up shocking the world by winning a game and making it out of the first round of play. Regardless of our surprising success, we still weren’t going to win the whole thing. To put it into perspective, our own coach made a statement before the tournament saying he didn’t think we were going to win. Through all that, we still believed in ourselves.
It’s going to take that kind of nationalism to propel us closer to winning the World Cup. The U.S. men’s team can’t win the World Cup on its own. We need more people to follow the fame and more people to play. With more players, the talent pool is that much greater. But, it’s not just a matter of skill. It’s also about passion. The entire nation has to support the team. I see the early stages of success in support from the nation and it makes me excited for the future.
So to finally answer the question, yes. I believe that we will win, one day.
Emily Proud is a midfielder for the Belmont women’s soccer team.