Lynn's Lines: Where Does Soccer in the US Go From Here?

Where does US soccer go from hereLet’s be honest with each other, the United States losing to Trinidad and Tobago, a nation with just over 1.3 million people in it, was depressing.

We were the sports juggernaut in this instance, but at the final whistle we ended up on the other side of the Miracle on Ice. In T & T they’ll make movies of this moment, chant in the streets, make songs and celebrate their victory for years…as they should.

In the US, we’re now a nation of fans and analysts clutching our collective pearls as we contemplate a future of US Soccer on the global stage.

What do we do now? How do we fix this? What needs to change?

These are the questions we’ll debate for the next decade plus as we attempt to rebound from sports catastrophe, but not all hope is lost. This isn’t the time to wallow and blame, this is the time to figure out answers and push forward.

Honestly, situations like this are the embodiment of the American Spirit, sometimes we need a little kick in the teeth to make us angry and competitive and to come out swinging in the face of doubt. This could be that moment for US soccer.

Bottom line, the US men's national team got complacent.

We had a modicum of success at the last World Cup and thought we had made it. The urgency left the building, maybe a healthy dose of embarrassment will bring it back.

I think the US will reflect on this result and become more motivated and more focused to improve on the global stage. From the President of US Soccer Sunil Gulati to the trainers, everyone is disappointed right now, and they need to channel that disappointment into something bigger.

While most of the nation sees this as the final straw for soccer in the US, I see it quite differently – I believe soccer will surpass all other US sports in popularity in the near future despite this monumental setback.

Think I’m crazy? Look at the ratings for premier league games on NBC Sports, we’re developing fans of the game, not just fans of American soccer stars. Look at the attendance numbers for MLS games – the passion and energy is there people!

Here’s another thing - it’s in FIFA’s best interest to have the US audience interested and involved in soccer. It means far greater viewership for their marquee events, and far bigger advertising revenue. With that in mind, I think this setback actually helps the US in their bid for the 2026 World Cup.

FIFA can’t take this audience for granted – they need the US to be part of the soccer engine. Expect the 2026 World Cup to be on North American soil.  

At SMWW we’re lucky, we support and work with all sports on a global level, we teach courses in rugby, cricket, basketball, football – we’re in it all – but if I’m looking at the industry on a global level, it’s soccer where the train has left the station and there is no turning back, surely not from this setback.

Soccer is impossible to corral. I think all sports will continue to grow globally, but soccer will overtake them all across the globe.

That’s the future I see, and if you love soccer and want to be a part of the growth – learn the skills you need right here at SMWW.

 

dr. Lynn LashbrookAbout the Author: Dr. Lynn Lashbrook is the President and Founder of Sports Management Worldwide, the first ever online sports management school with a mission to educate future sports business executives.

Dr. Lashbrook has been involved in the sports industry for over 40 years and is a respected voice in the industry, having contributed to ESPN, Comcast SportsNet, Forbes, SiriusXM, CNBC, Rugby World, The New York Times, the London Free Press, Yahoo Sports and many more. 

As a certified NFL agent, Dr. Lashbrook has represented over 100 NFL clients, including former 1st rounder Mark Fields, 9-time Pro Bowler Brian Dawkins and Miami Dolphins Quarterback Matt Moore. He is a passionate and enthusiastic teacher, known for helping students strategize ways to reach their career goals in the world of sports.