In case you haven’t seen the tweet heard ’round the world, ESPN soccer analyst Taylor Twellman revealed Jurgen Klinsmann is leaving the face of U.S. Soccer off of the 2014 World Cup roster.
23 Man roster will be named tonight: Parkhurst, Evans, Goodson, Corona, Edu, Boyd and Donovan are not in. #USMNT
— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) May 22, 2014
For many of us who’ve grown up with Landon Donovan, watching him burst onto the scene in 2002 to help the U.S. reach the quarters, to his historic goal against Algeria in 2010 which led to them winning their group for the first time since Prohibition was a thing, this might come as a shock. Donovan has become synonymous with US Soccer, and leaving him off the roster is a reality check for fans hoping for a historic run this year.
We never had a chance.
Advancing to the knockout stage with two of the top four FIFA ranked teams looming is a pipe dream, one Klinsmann appears content to forego. By leaving Donovan off the roster, Klinsmann is not-so-subtly sending a message.
It’s a statement. A statement to U.S. Soccer fans to stop living in the past. To realize 2002 was 12 years ago and in order for the U.S. to become the world power Klinsmann envisions, changes like this have to be made.
It’s clear Klinsmann is looking to 2018, when, believe it or not, the U.S. may actually be considered a contender by then. The young talent coming through the pipeline and the experience and vision Klinsmann has is only going to make the team better. Behind the scenes, Klinsmann is doing incredible work developing the U-20 and the new U-21 squad.
Many fans will be up in arms over this move. It’s a tough pill to swallow, and Americans are not used to being told they have no chance when it comes to sports, but Klinsmann knows what he is doing. He’s built an international team before, and he’s got the team playing about as good as they ever have with the current talent available to him.
This is an abrupt end to a glorious era for U.S. Men’s Soccer, but it puts a definitive stamp on the next era which will be even better. Take solace in this, fans, and look forward to a bright future.