2020: A Year in Review

2020 was quite a year from Covid-19, the election and some of the saddest, yet hopefully progress defining discussion on race in the United States that I can remember in my life time. I know that the deaths, the conversation and the response from our athletes and other leaders has impacted my family. 

The loss of Daryl Grove this year and the bizarre news recently of Charlie Kennan’s cancer have weighed heavily on the USMNT community. We are often accused of being vicious in our passions and responses at times, however I’ve also seen the deep community and love from different perspectives as well. The responses in difficult times and great care even of players to defend or look out for each other has been moving. 

All that being said we continue to pray for Daryl’s family, friends and the TSS community and we hope the country is moving in the right direction both in the racial healing and Covid vaccine arena. 

 Looking specifically at the soccer related work the Chasingacup team was engaged in during a year where were 4 friendlies and no competitive matches for the US Men’s National team. Yet in spite of all that aspirations of winning a World Cup, the cup so many fans have dreamed of and desired to chase have become so much more real. A 2020 USMNT and CAC soccer year in review…

New 2020 Fun

Chasingacup.com along with the partnership with Underdog Soccer Podcast launched the YouTube show Knocking it Around and our weekly USMNT soccer chat on Thursdays, #USSoccerChat

#USSoccerChat Fan & Contributor

Additionally, CAC & Underdog ventured into the interview world bringing in young USMNT players and stars on the cusp of breaking in first team minutes and some at huge clubs.

Along with all the media effort a few efforts to help fans track players and get accustomed to USMNT:

Stats  | MLS Stats 

USMNT Starter Guide

Interview XI

Patrick Weah Caden Clark

Christian Cappis Aethan Yohannes Brandan Craig

Jonathan Gómez Mark McKenzie Tony Leone Chris Richards 

CJ Dos Santos | David Ochoa

Favorite Stories

Two of my and fan favorite storylines from 2020 were David Kerr’s Top U20 List and MLS Academy Rankings.

A fun year of ranking top young players, I really have loved how the USMNT community embraced is both in recognition, but also calling us out –

Individually some great articles from a wide range of minds spanning all different aspects of the US Soccer world: 

Michelle Schmidt’s Barca Residency Academy

Scott Jorek’s 2017 U17 Update

Bob Morocco’s YNT Prospects & Probability

Patrick Keeler’s Change is Afoot

Chasingacup.com was always meant to be a forum for diverse thinking not just my own ideas and thoughts. Special thanks to all of the contributors-

David Kerr, Michelle Schmidt, Bob Morocco, Patrick Keeler, Scott Jorek, Daniel Smith, Matty Knips, Jeff Harman, Travis Zuellig, Tom DeRiggi, Chris Kerr & Grunt!

The Guys

What really needs to be said that hasn’t again and again over the last six months. What a year for USMNT players – in a wild year for the entire world due to the global pandemic. Record after record of new UCL goals, number of players, minutes and more continue to get shattered. Along with new dual national star additions like Yunus Musah. 

Weston McKennie 2020 US Male Player of the Year. Against doubters foreign and domestic made the jump to Juventus and became an impact player there. He scored one of the prettiest goals I can remember on the biggest stage. 

Christian Pulisic was maybe the best player when the Premier League restarted, though plagued with injuries continues to stay relevant and important to a now dynamic Chelsea.

Gio Reyna, hardly made a list of top players and had many knocking him back for his selfish play for the YNT. Though he is still oft challenged, he has performed well and become a critical player for Borrussia Dortmund. 

Sergiño Dest breaking in and becoming a regular starter at his dream club Barcelona. Dest joined Konrad de la Fuente, who has also seen first team minutes, to blow our minds as the UCL quality players continue to pile on.

Tyler Adams beast goal in the UCL for RB Leipzig. Chris Richards getting minutes at UCL Champion juggernaut Bayern Munich. Antonee Robinson steady leftback play in the Premier League at a position of weakness for us. This along with young up and comers across Europe like Uly Llanez, Richy Ledezma, Sebastian Soto, Haji Wright and and more with the return of Tim Weah looking to add depth at crucial positions. 

Major League Soccer has truly lived up to their goal of being a seller’s league. Brendan Aaronson is just one of so many including his teammate Mark McKenzie and Daryl Dike, Caden Clark, Ayo Akinola and Bryan Reynolds looking to shatter sales records for MLS. The league’s development efforts finally paying big dividends and Europe’s thirst for the next Christian Pulisic have made for a busy transfer news cycle.

All Told Year in Review

Chasingacup has always desired to be a platform of multitude of perspectives, ideas and looks at the US Men’s National Team. I’m thankful for all who have contributed, read, listened, watched and been a part of the growing community.

All of this in addition to being able to raise the funds to complete the soccer pitch we are developing for the refugee community in the South End of Louisville, KY. We will break ground in early 2021 and complete the field hopefully by Spring. That effort was in no small part supported by the CAC community who’s story and donations inspired some of our largest donors. 

The vision for CAC when it began in 2016 was seeing where USYNT was headed and expecting great things for the future. We are chasing a World Cup, that vision in 2020 has become so much more tangible. It will not be easy, there are many roadblocks ahead to overcome. The talent and the hunger are coming together, the fans are ready. We have a strong core group of players and an incredible pipeline of the next generation. The Cup has never been closer to our grasp, let’s chase that cup!