A Giant Step for the U.S. in the Soccer World
|06.25.09 at 9:41 am ET|
Does anyone remember the 1980 US men’s hockey team beating the Soviet Union in at Lake Placid in one of the greatest Olympic games ever played?
Granted, I wasn’t even born yet but I’ve seen the movie and the clips of Boston’s own Mike Eruizone scored the fourth U.S. goal with 10 minutes left in play.
Twenty nine years later, we have witnessed another upset that is almost as improbable (if not as significant) in U.S. sports history.
The U.S. men’s soccer team’s colossal upset of Spain, the top-ranked team in the world, is being compared to that 1980 win at Lake Placid. While not exactly on the same level, the U.S. win in the Confederation Cup final yesterday was a big step in the right direction for U.S. soccer credibility and is being called the biggest upset in non-World Cup soccer history.
Before the game, Revs owner Jonathan Kraft spoke on The Dale & Holley Show about his club, soccer in America and the magnitude of the US-Spain game.
“If the U.S. could go out and beat Spain, to put it in perspective, it’s like the Patriots beating the Rams in that first Superbowl,” Kraft said. “It’s not likely but it could happen.”
Well, it wasn’t likely and it did happen. Kraft’s Revolution, meanwhile, are doing their part to keep U.S. soccer visible on the global level. The Revolution are currently hosting SuperLiga 2009, a tournament between the top Mexican and American soccer teams at Gillette Stadium. The Revs, the 2008 defending SuperLiga Champions, beat Santos Laguna Sunday night 4-2 while drawing a 1-1 tie last night against their MLS foes, the Kansas City Wizards. A win on Sunday against Mexican club Atlas will advance them to the SuperLiga semifinals in mid-July.
“It shows how the sport is growing in America,” said Kheli Dube who scored the Revs only goal. “It helps so that other leagues can look at players over here and it’s good for the exposure of U.S. soccer.”
Kraft thinks the MLS should get more credit on the international level and SuperLiga play is one way to do so.
“I get a little sick of people saying things about Major League Soccer,” Kraft told Dale & Holley. “Could we play in the Premiership? No, we couldn’t. But the Mexican professional league, which is considered to be a pretty darn good league, we won SuperLiga. We beat the top Mexican teams last year to win that tournament.”
Kraft also mentioned how the MLS “Beckham experience,” as he coined it, helped with the credibility of the league. Beckham came to the MLS to play for the L.A. Galaxy in 2007 but returned to Europe after playing for England’s national team. He recently signed a contract with AC Milan, a team that will visit Gillette Stadium in late July for an international match against Inter Milan.
“I think it definitely raised the visibility around the world with the great players and with this country and MLS,” Kraft said in the interview. “The Beckham experience is what finally pushed us over that complete line of soccer credibility on a global basis.”
At a time when the MLS is trying to secure its standing in the world, the incredible U.S. win over Spain can only help that cause.
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