Warshaw: The World Cup is gone; now American soccer needs us more than ever

I have no words.

It’s 9:56 pm EST. The USMNT has just lost. They are eliminated from the World Cup. My dad emailed me, “This sucks.” He’s right. I’m not sure there’s anything to say other than that. If you close this article right now, I will not blame you.

I will not provide analysis of the game. I have thoughts on where the US went wrong over the last four years – or 10 years, or perhaps 20 years – but I will save them for another day.

For last 20 minutes of the game, my heart was pounding out of my chest. When I saw on Twitter that Panama had scored the go-ahead goal, my body went into a state I’ve never experienced.

No crowded stadium or speech or conversation has ever made my body feel the way the final whistle of this US game left me. I just put my head in my hands, unable to grasp the impossible nature of the very real reality.

The pain is the spark

I expect everyone else felt something similar. I expect millions of people around the country felt similar pain and sadness. I got mad for a moment that anyone – Bruce Arena, the players, Jurgen Klinsmann, Sunil Gulati – could let this happen. Then, as I sat still unmoved from the same spot, something else occurred me.

I have no words but, strangely, I have a hope.

This is how it starts. This is the spark. This is the pain and emptiness and devastation that spurs action.

A lot of people will write articles denoting blame for how this happened. Writers and tweeters and former pros will say what the American soccer system needs to do differently. Some will be right, some will be wrong. And it matters, of course. How we scout players, how we develop talent, how we groom pros, it all matters. But here’s the thing, and it’s the reason that I think actually makes us all love this god-forsaken sport in the first place.

Nothing matters nearly as much as your personal relationship with soccer and/or a soccer ball.

Soccer can happen anywhere. Soccer does anywhere. And in that,…

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