In the days following the U.S. Men’s National Team’s disastrous loss to Trinidad & Tobago, there was a lot of anger and commentary that was heard everywhere from television to various social media outlets.
But one word in the millions of words that were spoken and written continued to surface to the top.
Somehow, U.S. Soccer and a men’s national team that continued to sit a notch below the world’s soccer superpowers had become arrogant. You could hear it in Bruce Arena’s press conferences. You could hear it from the players when they were questioned about struggles throughout the Hexagonal. Suddenly, World Cup qualification for the U.S. Men had become a right, not a privilege and certainly not something that required hard work, guts and determination.
A program that had failed to qualify for the past two Olympics and had won nothing outside of the Gold Cup, thought they were better than they were.
And then there’s Sunil Gulati. During his first press conference following the U.S. 2-1 loss to T&T, Gulati did little to make folks change their minds about the arrogance that is rampant throughout the men’s program.
Truth be told, I could understand the arrogance if the men had won three World Cups and four Olympic gold medals like, say, the U.S. Women have won. But this mediocre bunch has nothing. And now they’re an embarrassment.
But Gulati’s “buck-stops-here” approach apparently differs from that of President Harry Truman. The buck may stop in front of Sunil, but then he puts that buck in his wallet. Guess he learned well from his buddy, the late Chuck Blazer.
The honorable thing for Gulati to do was quit. If he truly cared about U.S. Soccer as a whole, the future of the men’s soccer team, the American Outlaws and the ordinary fan like myself, he would have apologized, resigned and walked out.
That would have been the honorable thing to do. But men with arrogance are seldom equipped with honor.