Tragedy in T&T: One Year Later

It’s been a long year for supporters of the USMNT. It feels like a lifetime ago we all sat there, stunned as the clock ticked down against Trinidad & Tobago. Frozen as the goal in Panama flashed across the TV. What we thought was impossible, was now happening. We weren’t going to Russia.

We all shared a devastating experience that night, but we did not wake up the next day sharing the same emotions. Some of us were angry, others solemn. Some were motivated, while others couldn’t stomach to watch the team again.

We weren’t in agreement on where to lay blame for the disaster, either. We penned an open letter calling for the resignation of Bruce Arena and Sunil Gulati. Some thought Jurgen Klinsmann shouldered much of the responsibility. Topics from youth development and pay to play to promotion/relegation and ticket prices (and everything in between) became hot button issues.

But a year later, after a contentious USSF presidential race, after being forced to consume what seems like a million ads telling us to cheer for a different country – what has been progress has been made? Where do we stand now?

Let’s start with the good. The USMNT has seen an influx of young, promising talent to be excited about. The likes of Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Tim Weah, Josh Sargent and more have been brought into the squad, and the average age of the team going into Thursday’s friendly is 24 years old. The young guys have shown flashes of great technical ability, play at some of the top clubs in the world and have a hunger to represent the red, white and blue. They secured tough results in Portugal and France when no one expected them too. They fought a tough Mexico team to a victory. There are a lot of reasons to be excited about the future of the team.

In the aftermath, we also saw a shakeup at the top of the USSF. Bruce Arena resigned as coach, Sunil Gulati resigned as President, and General Manager positions were created for the men’s and women’s teams (the former being filled by former USMNTer Earnie Stewart, the search for the latter is underway).

But a year out from missing the World Cup, there’s still is a lot to be desired. As we noted this summer, the definition of the GM position left a lot of unanswered questions. Many fans have taken issue with the lack of a permanent coach, especially since the World Cup ended in July, and the formal interviewing process has just begun. They have found ticket prices for friendlies to be exorbitant. They haven’t seen the kind of transparency and structural changes they called for last October. We put out a questions to our followers – Where do you want to see this team in another year? To put it simply – one year after missing the World Cup, there’s still a lot of work to do.

We also asked our members to share their stories of how ticket prices have affected their fandom. Here are just a few examples of what they had to say.

After the anger/sadness/melancholy/frustration has been somewhat tempered in the past year, all the problems documented above still need addressing. But…there is still reason for optimism – the guys on the field.

You have Weston McKennie scoring winners in the Champions League, Christian Pulisic being named one of the top U21 talents in the World, and new leaders like DeAndre Yedlin and Matt Miazga giving us new moments like this.

Many of these are guys who had nothing to do with what we saw transpire last year. They’re the reason we’re Here for the Future, and they’re working toward making this team the power it can be. Let’s do our part, too, and show them support in the ways that we can, and we will endure.