So. The last few hours before the fate of American soccer is irrevocably altered.
There will be some soccer games as well, but the real contest will be decided in the halls of power.
Hope Solo isn’t going to cast the deciding vote on whether Morocco, North America, or Ankh-Morpork will host the 2026 World Cup. And you, Gentle-or-otherwise-leaning-toward-the-second-nothing-personal-just-a-wild-guess Reader, have probably already factored Hope’s insights into forming your own opinion on who should host, or have decided not to for whatever reason. So a detailed point-by-point analysis of her position isn’t urgent.
It is news when a former (let’s face it) United States Soccer Federation player does not support its bid to host the World Cup. I think that’s a reasonable read on the situation, since her conditions for supporting the bid, listed on her website, are not likely to be met anytime soon. Hope Solo doesn’t want the World Cup awarded to soccer federations that are beset with corruption, inequality, and self-interest. So she’s pretty much calling for the World Cup to be cancelled. That’s her right, but it’s also our right to call her a traitor to American soccer.
Which she is not, however, and we’d be wrong to do so.
Unless you consider men’s soccer and women’s soccer to be the same thing. Hope is saying that the women’s program is being neglected at the expense of the men’s program. So why should she support the 2026 bid?
You and I may disagree with her premise, and argue that what’s good for American men’s soccer is good for American women’s soccer. As President Kennedy said, “A rising tide lifts all boats, including the ones we’re sending to the Bay of Pigs.” But that sure as Shark Sandwich did not work in reverse. Back before any of us were born, between 1999 and 2002, the women’s program forced its way into America’s heart. Meanwhile, the men’s program had Harksed itself and MLS was at death’s door.
And I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s not what you’d call a lot of unity between men’s national team players and women’s national team players. Hell, the teams by themselves have more cliques than a Shawn Michaels documentary. If the two unions were to, for want of a better term, unite, the federation would – well, they’d try to call in replacements and sell them as the national teams, but we’d know better. That’s implausible to the point of comedy, and Hope herself contributes to that in no tiny way. Get her on a podcast and ask her about Alex Morgan – or Carli Lloyd, or coaches, or the weather – and decide for yourself.
If Hope were to backstab a prospective Women’s World Cup bid, now that would be treason. Not to the USSF, one of the nation’s many institutions and individuals who wrap themselves in the flag but do not represent it. Might as well swear loyalty to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. No, it would be treason to her sport – not soccer, but women’s soccer. The fans that Michelle Akers and Mia Hamm brought in became her fans, and Hope Solo has some obligation to make sure her fans become fans of the next generation of women’s players.
But she’s not messing with Ertz, Mewis and Dunn. She’s messing with Pulisic, Adams and Weah. Maybe not the coolest thing she could do, but what are they ever going to do for her?
Oh, and to get on board the Unpopular Opinion and/or Conspiracy Theory World Cup edition things that are going around….
I don’t know what she might have said. I don’t know what she might have done. But Greg Ryan wasn’t just playing the percentages like Mr. Burns putting in Homer to pinch-hit for Darryl Strawberry. Hope Solo did SOMETHING to get her ass benched in 2007. We just don’t know what it was. But it sure as hell was something, and Greg Ryan has been a hero to keep his mouth shut.
I will die convinced of this. Or of some painful disease. One or the other.
People who think Rocco Commisso is a reformer should be kept away from objects.
Not just sharp objects. All objects.
Congratulations to Tiffeny Milbrett, Brad Friedel, Cindy Cone, Dr. Bob Contiguglia and #SaveTheCrew on their election to the National Soccer Hall of Fame!
Did everyone notice the staggered rollout of the inductee announcements? That was very considerate of the winners who are not currently trying to ship the Columbus Crew south by southwest. Commissioner Garber was fricasseed on social media for hours after the announcement, and rightly so. In fact, it was pretty merciful on Garber that the Hall had four other names to roll out.
Milbrett is a huge relief to me, at least, I was worried she was going to be overlooked. It doesn’t look like a lot of the 1990’s players are going to be overlooked forever. There were a couple of stories I feel were overlooked.
Apparently Garber was elected as a Builder in 2016, but, according to US Soccer, he chose to wait until this year for his official induction, ostensibly to honor Lamar Hunt. I don’t know whether Chastain, MacMillan, Scurry, and Dr. Machnik were offered the same option to honor Mr. Hunt.
If Garber did intend to simply bestow honor on Lamar Hunt – something he presumably could have done without the distraction of an induction speech – then it’s really a shame how circumstances turned out. Garber will of course be booed clean out of the building. And he would have avoided this fate by simply accepting induction when it was given. So among the many predictable and avoidable consequences of the attempted Austin move, we can now add the imminent ruin of Garber’s induction and the overshadowing of the man he intends to honor. It’s enough to get Sophocles on the phone to Aeschylus to ask whether it’s nemesis that comes after hubris or the other way round.
Friedel and Milbrett topped a small stack of US men’s national team stalwarts, but never stars. Bocanegra now holds, by a considerable margin, the record for most USMNT caps without election to the Hall of Fame. I was getting used to thinking Eddie Lewis (82), Steve Cherundolo (87) and Frankie Hejduk (85) would be roughly the minimum number of caps required for consideration. Bocanegra had 110, tied for tenth all-time. If for some weird reason Bocanegra is not inducted in the next few years, that means the (unofficial) USMNT standard for election has been raised considerably. In a related story, Jozy Altidore also has 110 caps for the US men’s national team.
Which I guess is why we wait to induct, or not. Michael Bradley has 140 caps, and I doubt he’d cross 50% with the current mood. Now, if Canada gets its own Hall of Fame, Bradley and Altidore have a great shot.
Steven Goff of the Washington Post had the voting percentages of the top twenty vote-getters.
The bottom three vote-getters were Juan Pablo Angel, Bobby Convey and Jay DeMerit, and they will not be on next year’s ballot. I can’t say I’m surprised, except at some of who finished above them. Maybe Lori Lindsey will have a groundswell of support next year.
More likely not, though. Here’s a taste of who’s going to be on next year’s ballot: Shannon Boxx, Lori Chalupny, Stephanie Lopez Cox, Dwayne DeRosario, Todd Dunivant, Lauren Cheney Holiday, Karina LeBlanc, Amy LePeilbet, Homare Sawa, Cat Whitehill….
And Abby something or other. I’ll look her up. Old WUSA player.
Yeah, I’ll do some kind of World Cup prediction preview this week. This is, after all, a comedy blog. But I did want to share the idea, and whoever wants to take credit can step forward, for an FC Cincinnati rebrand.
I have this grand plan to name soccer teams lacking actual nicknames after their musical contributions – Nashville Pride, Washington Bad Brains, Detroit Clown Posse, and so forth. So let’s have the Cincinnati Bootsies – the logo is a soccer ball wearing star sunglasses*.
On the microscopic chance that this idea is rejected, they can alter FCC to The FCC, aka The Feds. There’s even a logo from the past waiting to be revived!
FC Cincinnati's rebrand is actually being handled by the same folks who vandalized the Juventus logo. But of course, Juve didn't have the culture, history and iconography that a team like FC Cincinnati has. I'm sure the new FCC logo will make the Spinal Tap cover look like the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
*LAST MINUTE JOKE - not to be confused with the Little Boots, which should be used in case the name changes from FC Cincinnati to FC Caligula. The team would still honor a Roman military leader. And if you're gonna rebrand, baby, rebrand.