On Monday, June 16th, the United States enters its 10th World Cup! This is their 7th time in a row creating a streak bettered only by 6 other nations worldwide. While the road out of the tournament’s “Group of Death” features ties against Germany (FIFA Ranking 2), Portugal (FIFA Ranking 4), and Ghana (The team who eliminated the US in 2010), the US has everything to be proud of. They’re a team that truly embodies the classic American mantra “E Pluribus Unum”, Out of Many, One.
These players help make that team special. Their different backgrounds creating the backbone for the top rated team in North America:
At the beginning of 2013, the United States’s qualification for the World Cup was very much in doubt. Having lost their first match to Honduras in the ever-hostile Estadio Olympico Metropolitano, the US was up at home to Costa Rica and away to Mexico in the next two games; two of the best teams in North America. Omar Gonzalez was the star of the US’s immaculate defensive display in the infamous “Snow Bowl” against Costa Rica and shut out the US’s biggest rivals at their own home. His “Man of the Match” Performance in Mexico must have felt all the sweeter as he holds a Mexican Passport and could have played for either country.
Truly World-Class Players are hard to come by, even at the World Cup. There is little doubt that Tim Howard, the US’s goalkeeper, is World Class. Howard, who has been the starting keeper for England’s legendary Everton FC since 2006, exemplified his class against Algeria in the 2010 World Cup, when he started the counter attack for Landon Donovan’s late game-winning goal. After catching a headed shot from an Algeria attacker, Howard quickly threw the ball out to the fast-breaking Donovan, who after passing off to Jozy Altidore, buried Clint Dempsey’s rebounded shot. Though he has suffered from Tourette Syndrome his entire life, Howard’s brilliance is unquestionable. It is the one position where even the favorites, Brazil, are envious.
If his goal in the recent Send-Off Match against Turkey is anything to go by, Fabian Johnson could be a breakout star in the tournament. Johnson is one of several players (including Jermaine Jones, Timothy Chandler, and John Brooks) in the Final 23 Man Squad who were born to American Servicemen stationed in Germany. Growing up in Fußball-obsessed Germany allowed Johnson to grow into an incredibly versatile player. While he is a skilled midfielder, he may be most effective in this World Cup linking up with the attack as an outside defender.
One of the most famous wins in US World Cup History, the 1-0 victory over England in 1950, owes its only goal to Haitian-American Joe Gaetjens. The future of US Soccer is also on the shoulders of another Haitian-American Striker, Jozy Altidore. At 24, he’s nowhere near the youngest player at the tournament, but he is one of the youngest playing in his second World Cup. If he can recreate his goalscoring prowess from his time in the Dutch Eredivise, the US may have a shot at getting past Germany and Portugal.
The Captain. Having scored more than 50 goals during his time playing in England with Fulham FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC, Dempsey is one of the key pieces of the US’s attack in Brazil. His equalizing goal against England in 2010 was one of the turning points of the group stages and allowed the US to advance to the round of 16. At 31, this could be Dempsey’s last World Cup, but he has shown time and again that he will rise to the occasion and deliver when called upon.
All in all, this is a prime example of diverse players from different backgrounds coming together to create a stronger-than-ever team dedicated to success. That’s exactly what we strive for at Professional Diversity Network and we can’t wait to cheer them on.
Let’s hear it! Who’s your favorite player? Let everyone know below…