The USA team coached by former German international Jurgen Klinsmann may have been knocked out of the 2014 world cup, but they did so in typical American style; showing courage and passion while fighting till the end.
They faced a massively talented Belgium side at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador and lost 2-1 in extra time, and while huge praise was showered on the team; one man – the Number 1 was the true American hero.
From Brazil to New York, Texas to Washington Tim Howard was the name on the lips of every American and their supporters from other continents.
Making a total of 15 saves their loss to the Belgians – the most ever made in a single world cup game. The Howard frenzy also became a trend on Twitter with #ThingsTimHowardCanSave and from the reactions that followed – quite a lot.
“None of that really matters to me.” Said the Everton goalkeeper. “We are hungry, we have tasted what it’s like to play against the best in the world. We will be back.”
Indeed they will now that the heroic performance of this team has inspired millions of Americans and making a huge statement for soccer as a growing sport in the US.
Finishing second behind Germany in what was clearly the group of Death which also included Ghana and Portugal has lauded great solidarity for Obama’s boys and according to recent figures; Brazil 2014 has had the highest number of visiting fans from the US, which might be surprise to many.
But let’s not forget the geographical location, the spending power- yes “in God we trust” the American dollar and a glorious summer holiday in one of the world’s exotic cities – Rio de Janeiro.
A typical day at Copacabana beach in Rio says it all when the Americans are town.
Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said: “My players went to their limits, but every one of them made their country proud”.
Hopefully we have not seen the “limits” of American football or soccer as they call it. The hosts of the 1994 world cup which was worn by Brazil after Italy’s Roberto Baggio sent his spot kick over the cross bar, could well start another for a bid welcome FIFA and the world again to the land of the free.
First they and their heroes must follow through on the achievements of 2014 to find a place for the global game within the NBA, NFL and baseball societies.