For high school soccer, the Metroplex seems to have a goalkeeper’s grip on the sport in Texas.
Plano ISD teams have 16 state titles, Southlake Carroll boys and girls have three UIL championships, and upstart Kennedale won the first two girls Class 4A crowns in 2015-16.
So current and former area coaches and players weren’t shy in expressing disappointment and embarrassment after Tuesday’s loss by the U.S. Men’s National Team that eliminated them from competing in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
“Unbelievable! I’m so mad. It just shouldn’t happen,” said Aledo boys soccer coach Derek Vierling, whose Bearcats have won eight district titles in 16 years. “Hopefully some positive changes result in this devastating situation.”
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Trinidad and Tobago defeated the U.S. 2-1 on Tuesday night.
“There was huge promise coming into that Trinidad game,” said former Alvarado forward Trevor Stovall. “We had shutout Panama 4-0 and had the chance to qualify. We just folded once we were down 2-0 at half. We had a great chance at a qualifying spot, but we made mistakes and put ourselves in a hole.”
The Americans had made every World Cup back to 1990. Mexico hosted the 1986 World Cup, the last time USMNT did not compete.
“It makes the entire country as a whole look horrible, and the fact that we have over 2.4 million footballers in the country, but can’t make a quality team is sad,” said Mansfield Lake Ridge senior forward Brandon Cerda.
Some said the team needs more youth.
“From the top down, there needs to be reform. The veterans are getting complacent. Tim Howard – best U.S. keeper ever – he’s too old, and Michael Bradley, Brad Guzan, and many others need to be cut,” said former Granbury goal keeper Josiah Hall. “They can’t keep up with the pace of competitive international ball.”
Others blame American leadership at the U.S. Soccer Federation.
“Very disappointed. I believe it starts at the top and [USSF president] Sunil Gulati needs to go,” said Aledo girls coach Bryan Johnson, whose team reached the UIL 5A final in April. “We need to put together a plan that will have us competing at the highest level possible in 10 years. We need to figure how to find talent at all levels in every state and identify them. This loss will hopefully bring tremendous growth to the future of U.S. soccer.”
Michael Strange, who coached the Kennedale girls to those two championships, wonders if the trend may continue.
“I don’t think this is any one issue, but a culmination of several small issues,” Strange said in a email. “Unfortunately the girls programs are following the boys now and we’ll begin to see the same decline in the next decade or so. Like anything you want to first see how do successful club teams set up their programs.”