The United States Men’s National Soccer Team (or the USMNT) is the official representative of the United States in the sport of international soccer. It can also be called the USA Football Team as foreign countries use the term football instead of soccer. The current uniform of the USA team comes in two colours: the first one is all-white with blue and red outlines in both top and bottom, while the second one features a blue-white-red horizontal-striped combination top, plain red shorts and socks at the bottom.
The U.S. Football Team mainly participates in the FIFA World Cup, as well as other FIFA-sanctioned tournaments such as the CONCACAF Gold Cup and the FIFA Confederations Cup. The team also participated in the Summer Olympics. In addition, the United States hosted the 1994 FIFA World Cup.
The U.S. team’s biggest win was in June 15, 2008, when the American football team stormed past Barbados with an 8-0 convincing victory. The team’s biggest defeat was in August 6, 1948 when it suffered from a crushing 11-0 loss to Norway.
The Early Years of the US Soccer Team
The origin of the US soccer team can be traced way back to the year 1885, when the United States drafted its first team of players in order to compete against Canada. They lost their first match against their neighbors by a score of 0-1. The US team had its revenge a year later when the soccer team won with a score of 1–0; but those two matches weren’t official international matches. In its first official international match held on August 20, 1916, the US Football team, branded as US Soccer, beat Sweden in a tightly-contested match that ended with a score of 3-2.
The United States team was one of the debuting countries in the first ever FIFA World Cup in 1930. In its first year, the US won 3-0 against Paraguay, but lost to Argentina in the semi-finals with a score of 6-1. The US soccer team achieved a 3rd-place finish ahead of Yugoslavia, making it the United States’ highest ever ranking in the history of the World Cup. They appeared again in Brazil for the 1950 World Cup, and created one of the biggest upsets in the tournament by defeating England 1-0. Unfortunately, they lost to Chile via a score of 5-2, knocking the American team out of the tournament.
The U.S. made a bid to host the 1986 World Cup, but the right was given to Mexico instead. The U.S. team also attempted to enter the 1986 World Cup in order to build morale for the national team, and they only needed at least a draw against Costa Rica in the CONCACAF qualifying tourney. Unfortunately, Costa Rica won the match with a 1-0 score and the United States failed to enter the World Cup tournament proper.
FIFA World Cup Appearances
The US Football team has so far made a total of 10 appearances in the FIFA World Cup. In spite of never getting as far as 3rd place since the inaugural World Cup, the United States team has made progress with various results.
After four decades of absence, the US team finally qualified for the 1990 World Cup after a winning match against Trinidad and Tobago, 1-0. Their appearance in the tournament was short-lived, though, as the team lost all their three matches – against Italy, Austria and Czechoslovakia in the group category rounds.
The US football team took part in the 1994 World Cup as an automatic qualifier, the US being the host country in that year’s staging of the quadrennial event. In their match against Switzerland on their home soil, although both teams scored, they settled for a 1-1 draw. This was followed by a stirring win against higher-seeded Colombia via a 2-1 score (thanks to Colombian player Andres Escobar accidentally scoring a goal for the American team; the costly mistake leading to his post-match murder) and a loss to Romania, 0-1. In the knockout stages, the US lost to Brazil via a score of 1-0, dashing all hopes of the American team to advance.
After an embarrassing dead-last finish among 32 teams during the group rounds in 1998, the US soccer team redeemed itself and reached the quarterfinals of the 2002 staging of the event – the team’s highest finish since 1930. The US team squeaked into the knockout rounds after a 1-1-1 win-loss-draw record in the group stages, then knocking out Mexico with a score of 2-0. Thanks to goals from Landon Donovan and Brian McBride, the US team advanced to the quarterfinals. They were then defeated by Germany via a score of 1-0.
In the 2006 tournament, the US team couldn’t get past Ghana, the Czech Republic, and Italy, thus failing once again to advance to the knockout rounds. In the 2010 World Cup, the United States team won their group category with two draws against Slovenia (2-2) and England (1-1) and a victory against Algeria (1-0). In the knockout rounds, the US lost to Ghana and settled for a 12th place finish.
In the 2014 World Cup, the US team reached the knockout rounds after a 1-1-1 W-D-L record in the group stages with Portugal, Ghana and Germany. They bowed out in the knockout round of 16 against Belgium with a 2-1 defeat.
CONCACAF Cup Appearances
The US Football team also made a total of 13 appearances in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which is a football competition across countries in North America, Central America and the Caribbean. The US team won five of its thirteen appearances, in the years 1991, 2002, 2005, 2007 and 2013. The American team first appeared in the 1991 tournament which the country also hosted.
The Summer Olympics
The United States football team also participated in the Summer Olympics. The US team participated in 27 Olympiads, but they never reached the medal rounds. In fact, their highest ranking was an 8th-place finish in the quarterfinals of the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. Their worst ranking is 26th place at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland.
The United States bolstered the team for the 1984 Summer Olympics in an attempt to have a decent finish as the host country. They replaced their collegiate players with professional athletes after the International Olympic Committee allowed professionals who never played in the World Cup to represent an adopted country. However, the US team still failed to reach the second round of the tournament.
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The FIFA Confederations Cup
The United States football team participated in the FIFA Confederations Cup, which served as a preparatory tournament for the FIFA World Cup. Out of four appearances in the tourney, they qualified in all four occasions. The team’s best placing is a runner-up finish in the 2009 staging held in South Africa, plus two 3rd-place finishes in 1992 (held in Saudi Arabia) and 1999 (held in Mexico).
The US – Mexico rivalry
The United States and Mexico have a long-standing rivalry, given their geographical proximity to each other. Although the rivalry has existed since their first match in 1934, it wasn’t until the 1980s when the US/Mexico rivalry heated up. Upon the creation of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, both the US and Mexico teams emerged as the tournament powerhouses, winning a combined total of ten times out of 13 stagings. (Mexico won in 1993, 1996, 1998, 2003, and 2009).
The U.S. Team’s Supporters
The US football team draws solid support from The American Outlaws and Sam’s Army. Sam’s Army is a loyal fan-base that was formed right after the 1994 World Cup. This fan-base showed immense support to the American team by wearing red in matches, singing chants such as the US national anthem, and bringing American flags to the games. On the other hand, The American Outlaws started as a local supporters’ group that eventually became a non-profit supporters’ organization among all fans of the USA football team.
The USA Team Squad
The current head coach of the US national soccer team is Jürgen Klinsmann, a native of Germany and the former head coach of the German football team. Tab Ramos and Andreas Herzog are the current assistant coaches, with Ramos also serving as the US youth soccer’s technical director, while Herzog is the former head coach of the Austrian under-21 football team. Chris Woods, a native of England and the former goalkeeping coach of Manchester United, serves as the US team’s goalkeeping coach.
The current US football team is made up of the following players:
- Clint Dempsey (captain of the football team)
- Gyasi Zardes
- Jozy Altidore
- Chris Wondolowski
- Matt Besler
- Perry Kitchen
- DeAndre Yedlin
- Shane O’ Neill
- Jermaine Jones
- Matt Hedges
- Will Trapp
- Luis Gil
- Miguel Ibarra
- Michael Bradley
- Lee Nguyen
- Dillon Serna
- Brek Shea
- Mix Disrekud
- Sean Johnson
- Nick Romando
There is an American soccer player who made a lasting mark in the history of football. Joe Gaetjens was the sole goal scorer of the USA team in the 1950 World Cup, when he led his team to an upset victory over England. The historic goal was declared by Sports Illustrated and Soccer Digest as the “Miracle on Grass”.