USA Soccer Team History
Historically speaking, many are also surprised to know that the history of soccer in the United States goes back quite seem time ago to the late 19th century when the U.S.A. played one of the first international matches ever against Canada. The United States Soccer Federation was founded a short time after in 1913.
The U.S.’s best ever finish came in the first ever World Cup in 1930, where the team managed a 3rd place finish. Unfortunately, the following years saw USA soccer get sucked into a kind of black hole where the sport was largely absent from the national consciousness. This all luckily changed starting with the country’s hosting of the 1994 World Cup.
United States Soccer Finally Comes Of Age
Underrated no more, the United States Soccer Team emerged from its decades of irrelevance starting in 1989 when the USA was awarded the hosting of the 1994 World Cup.
The 1990 tournament in Italy saw the United States participate in its first World Cup in almost 40 years! Despite losing all three of its group matches, merely qualifying for the tournament was seen by many to be a step in the right direction.
The 1994 tournament then held in the United States, and saw the host country advance to the second round before being knocked out by eventual tournament champions Brazil in a 1-0 result. The hosting of this tournament generated an enormous buzz for for soccer and resulted in an unprecedented level of renewed interest in the sport within the United States.
Style of United States Soccer
For the longest time, the United States has had trouble identifying a particular type of style for its team. The U.S. has been trying to copy styles from around the world in an attempt to find the American soccer identity. Unfortunately, this quest for an identity has been largely unsuccessful. Throughout their search, the Americans have just never been able to find something that they could really identify as American soccer.
This is changing, however.
The USA Soccer Team has stopped trying to look outwards for its style and has instead has gradually started to adopt the qualities of American sports in general: well coached, athletic, and hard working.
Previous versions of the team saw it play a classic defense-first, counter-attacking style. In fact, the team frequently used a 3-6-1 formation in years past in an attempt to clog up the midfield and catch teams on the counter-attack. While the strategy saw limited success, it did help the United States remain competitive with teams that were far superior.
The Problem With US Soccer
Ultimately, the shortfall of the USA soccer program is its inability to produce players with the necessary level of individual flair and creativity. While all players are good athletes and possess sound fundamental skills, the players lack the individual skill that so many of the players from South America develop.
In the end, soccer culture and style of play is a product of the society that it grows within. The individual flair that South American players develop is a result of their upbringing and learning to play the game on the streets of Rio de Janeiro or Buenos Aires.
USA soccer was looking outwards for far too long and by finally adopting traits that American sports in general possesses, the United States is achieving a level of international success it has never before achieved.
Take a look at other soccer styles:
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