A part of

Issue # 33 Monday July, 6,1998

About the Author:

Charles Loyd McIntosh

In 1997 Charles Loyd McIntosh was a news writer for the Talledega Daily Home (www.dailyhome.com). He was a former reporter for The Western Star in Bessemer (a small city west of Birmingham), Alabama, and a former Sports Editor for the Clanton Advertiser. At the time he was writing for the Sideroad, Loyd was pursuing a Masters in English degree at the University of Montevallo, Alabama. An avid sports fan, soccer is Loyd's sport of choice, one he has been known to coach in the recent past.


World Cup Heart Ache

Humiliation. Absolute, total, complete humiliation.

I feel like I should be walking around town with a paper bag over my head. This is a horrible, bitter pill to have to swallow.

US soccer, in only its third World Cup since 1950 took about 30 steps backwards Sunday afternoon after a humiliating performance against political arch-rivals Iran in a packed stadium just outside Paris, France.

That's right, I said Iran!

The same US National Team that in the last few years has beaten England and Scotland and forced ties with Brazil (the reigning World Cup champs and four time Cup winners) and Italy could only muster one cheap goal late in Sunday's 2-1 defeat against one of the most evil nations in the world.

The US Soccer Team, by my own admission, has never been a power house soccer nation. However, the current crop of US Team members has made incredible advancements in the international game and looked poised to continue that progress in France '98.

Oh well. Cest la vie!

That youthful optimism seems so long ago now, after head coach Steve Sampson completely dismantled the team that got his sorry keester into the big cheese's spot.

After qualifying for the World Cup, Sampson cut team captain John Harkes and benched the team's most experienced players, Alexi Lalas, Ernie Stewart, Tab Ramos (to be fair, Ramos was recovering from a knee injury) among others. Part of the criticism against these players is they're too old.

Well Steve, if this is true, why is your new team captain 37 year-old Thomas Dooley? And, why did you make him your sweeper giving him the daunting task of chasing down Germany and Iran's speedy strikers?

The blame for this fiasco in France is placed squarely on the shoulders of Sampson, a man who played and coached under Iran's head coach at a small community college in California. With little to no international experience, Sampson took over after the US coach Bora Milutinovic was fired (now coaching Nigeria who has two first round wins) and has proved what many people knew all along. America is not good enough to have a native born coach, especially one who feels he has to prove something at the expense of team chemistry.

Now, for his wisdom and leadership, Team USA has losses to Germany and Iran and one game left against Yugoslavia with no chance to advance to round two. This after the US defeated heavy favourite Colombia in 1994. Pele himself predicted Colombia to take the cup in '94.

Now, we can't beat a team who hasn't been to a cup since 1978.

Thanks Steve!

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Text copyright Charles Loyd MacIntosh, 1997 - '98. Part of the original Sideroad ezine.
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