by Scott Jorek (@Burgermeister73)

I’m a US Soccer fan.  

It was a game in Trinidad & Tobago back in 1989.

That’s how I started.  

I was more of a part-time soccer fan tuning in when the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) plays.  Back then I hoped the USMNT would write a similar story like when the US Men’s Olympic Hockey team shocked the world and took gold at the 1980 winter Olympics at Lake Placid in upstate NY.  As a kid that memory stuck… maybe the USMNT can achieve that same glory one day?

I continued to casually watch as the USMNT played in more World Cups. Soon some players started to get noticed on the global football stage.  Then I started to wonder why can’t the USMNT compete and win on the global stage?  I mean the US competes and wins at the the Olympics?  Still, I continue to tune in, part-time.  

Then, again in Trinidad & Tobago… Couva happened.  October 10, 2017.
I woke.

How can this happen?  Who do I blame!  Some fans turned US soccer off.  I increased the volume. So many questions. I needed to understand.

I began my education.  I started reading USMNT articles and blogs.  I monitored our players, ALL our players.  I watched more matches. I started to interact on blogs and share my thoughts with strangers. The more time I dedicated to this education, the more I realized I don’t understand, and the more I liked this beautiful game.  I read more and watched more. I discovered twitter.  (Holy shit there are some really negative people out there.)  I found podcasts.  I listened.  A lot.  Opinions, information, education.  I watched more matches, all matches from MLS to Champions League.  I buy a new soccer ball.  I nutmeg my dog.  He doesn’t seem to mind.  

There is this “lost generation” idea.  Is this why we didn’t qualify in 2018?  Seems like a symptom and not the disease.  Our 2018 failure must be because of the coaching.  Hmmm… perhaps another symptom.  Our entire national team program must be broken. 

Is this an overreaction?  Where does the national team program start?  When does it start?  How does it start?  I think I’m starting to understand, it’s way more complex than I first thought.  The Germans went through “Das Reboot” but how do we restart something we never really had to begin with?  

One thing is for certain, we need change.  We need to be smart.  We need to be practical.  We need to be honest.  We need to evolve.  

Still, I want our USMNT to win!
My conclusion… it’s all about US Soccer culture.  That’s what needs to change!
This is my Great US Soccer Awakening

What can I do?  
If I’m passionate enough then I must contribute to improving US Soccer culture.  Anyway I can.  At home, in my local community, as a fan, as a player (at whatever level), support other players, support coaches, support referees, support teams.  Continue to participate and enjoy the game. 

Study, learn and appreciate the tactical aspects.  Master what is player quality, how formations impact success, how to identify patterns of play, trade offs of offensive defensive shapes.

  • Question everything of how soccer is being done in the United States. 
  • Question our local and state level youth programs. 
  • Question the path for player success. 
  • Question the infrastructure of the professional development of our talented players. 
  • Question the professional league structure. 
  • Question what is being decided for the national team programs. 
  • Question how and why things were done in the past. 
  • Question the current status quo. 

Become aware and knowledgeable then, in whatever way you can, contribute to the growth and evolution of this great game in the United States.  Teach, explain, reason and debate with others.  Involve yourselves.  Engage others who don’t know about this beautiful game.  Encourage those who share the same  passions.  Approach those who are more vested in this game. Recruit awareness.

The stronger the culture is, the more the culture will demand success. 

That’s how things change.  We must advance the US Soccer culture.  We keep advancing until Americans are holding the FIFA World Cup Trophy!

It starts with me and starts with you.