After failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in embarrassing fashion, the United States Men’s National Team have managed to claw their way into Group B of the Qatar World Cup.
Drawn against Wales, England and Iran, The Yanks face heavy competition and securing a berth for the knockout stages will likely be very tricky.
They certainly appear to have the personnel for the job, as their squad features stars from multiple European sides, including a Champions League winner in captain Christian Pulisic.
Of course, being good on paper doesn’t always translate seamlessly to reality, and The Americans may just be staring at an early return from Qatar.
Nevertheless, they’ll receive the wholehearted support of millions of USMNT fans every step of the way, although the same cannot be said for the American Media.
Many publications from the country are known to underrate ‘soccer’ as a sport, owing to the immense popularity of US-based Leagues.
Due to the viewership ratings of leagues such as the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL, domestic football coverage usually gets overlooked and rarely sees any updates to the format, especially when compared to its European counterparts.
Naturally, the blatant bias regularly draws out the frustration of American football fans, a recent instance of which occurred just yesterday.
It all started after a Twitter post from SportsCenter, a popular television program from ESPN.
Bearing a caption which read ‘Imagine these American stars suiting up in this year’s World Cup’, the post included an image displaying an altered version of the USMNT.
Instead of the actual squad, the faces of America’s most popular athletes had been stapled onto fully-kitted bodies, including the likes of Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Patrick Mahomes, and Steph Curry.
The post drew the ire of USMNT fans almost immediately, with the backlash being so severe that the tweet was subsequently deleted.
For many, the post seemed incredibly unnecessary and appeared to patronize the actual team, especially when paired alongside the borderline ignorant caption.
Upon taking into context the fact that such a crossover would never be forwarded to footballers, the image was also viewed as particularly unfair. After all, you’d never see a Super Bowl team composed of USMNT stars.
The oafish mashup provided another reason for USMNT fans to express their annoyance with ESPN, and its coverage of Football-related events in general, with an example being the archaic model of ‘ESPN FC’.
It all exemplified the lowbrow approach afforded towards Football in the country, at least by a section of the media, something which fans have regularly shown their exhaustion towards.
Hopefully, the backlash received by SportsCenter will dis-encourage others from getting similar ideas.