These are good times for United States national soccer teams of all genders and ages.
1. The U.S. women’s team is on top of Group D (the Group of Death!) in the Women’s World Cup after a 3-1 win over Australia. The USWNT is still one of the tournament’s two big favourites.
2. The U.S. men’s team just beat Germany (the reigning World Cup champions and No. 1-ranked team in the world) and the Netherlands (the team that finished 3rd at the World Cup) on the road in the same week, scoring six goals in the process.
3. The U.S. men’s under-20 team is into the quarterfinals of the U-20 World Cup after beating Colombia 1-0 in the Round of 16. With a win over Serbia in the quarterfinal, it will be the farthest a U.S. youth team has been in the tournament since they finished fourth in 1989.
That this on-field success is coming on the heels of the U.S. Department of Justice finally hammering FIFA officials with corruption charges after years of rumours and speculation only makes it sweeter. Depending how the three teams finish in the Women’s World Cup, Concacaf Gold Cup, and U-20 World Cup, respectively, we could be on track for a landmark summer for American soccer.
The U.S. is getting 87th-minute golazos against Germany in Germany:
The U.S. is stringing together 35-pass sequences:
The U.S. is frustrating the Australian FA into writing up the most salty Women’s World Cup recap of all time:
The U.S. is suddenly producing teenagers who can do this:
At the U-20 level, the World Cup has seen the promising debut of Gedion Zelalem — the 18-year-old German-born, American-raised Arsenal prospect who picked the U.S. over Germany earlier this year.
To put a damper on things, all of this American soccer success has its caveats. The women’s team still looks shaky in defence and unbalanced in the midfield. The men’s team got some historic wins, for sure, but they were friendlies against disinterested teams that still outplayed them for large stretches of games. We still haven’t seen the U.S. take the game to bigger teams in major competitions, which is Jurgen Klinsmann’s stated goal. And the U-20 team, while promising, is still a team of teenagers playing against other teenagers.
But in a big-picture sense, this summer has started perfectly for the U.S., and hopefully it’s a sign of things to come.
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