For the past couple weeks everyone has been talking about the Women’s World Cup. Abby Wambach’s header in extra time against Brazil is something everyone watching that game will remember. Did it lose some of its luster because the USA eventually lost in the finals? I think so.
But that is an issue for another day. After coming off the low of the women’s national team’s loss to Japan and the high of being in Chicago for CM Punk’s win at the Money in the Bank (side note: loudest arena I have ever been in) I found myself watching soccer late yesterday.
Watching Cristiano Ronaldo net a hat trick over Chivas of Guadalajara, a game after his fancy footwork against the Galaxy, along with Wayne Rooney’s 3 goal effort against the Seattle Sounders made me wonder when is the United States going to have a player like that.
After every Olympics or World Cup, the debate about whether or not soccer will gain popularity is a hot topic on every sports show. In my opinion, this will not happen until the US gets a star comparable to Rooney or Ronaldo.
The NFL has Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. The NBA had MJ and now have Kobe and Lebron. In order to build a sport there needs to be a face of the league. And for soccer to grow the US needs an American-born super star.
The closest thing the US has now is Landon Donovan. His goal against Algeria inspired one of the greatest YouTube videos of all-time but he’s past his prime and who knows how many years he has left or whether or not he’ll even be a large factor on the roster in 2014 in Brazil.
One option to take the torch from Donovan is Jozy Altidore. Altidore’s time with Villarreal was mainly spent not scoring on teams he was loaned out to. He most recently signed with Dutch squad AZ Alkmaar as he tries to live up to the hype. He has shown some brilliance in spurts, like his hat trick against Trinidad & Tobago or his goal against Guadeloupe. He may be a star but needs more consistent minutes with his teams.
Freddy Adu was supposed to be savior when he rose up the ranks and he has been a huge bust. Maybe it’ll be Juan Agudelo, he’s only 18 and has looked good for both the national team and the Red Bulls with his great speed.
But one thing is for sure, soccer can’t prosper in this country when the most recognized faces are Hope Solo and Alex Morgan, despite how pretty those faces are.