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Yes, it must seem strange for me to be posting a thread about the aftermath of a two and a half year old event, but after much thought I realised just how much it means to American football.

I honestly believe that the 2002 World Cup has changed the whole face of our football, and will eventually be the base for us to win a World Cup.

The performance of our brave soldiers in Korea wowed not just a nation, but many nations, forever changing the international view of American football.

Under so much pressure, and yet with so few expectations put upon them, the Americans rose higher than anyone predicted they would. Playing against some of the best players in the world, they showed that they meant business in Korea. Bang! 3-0. An eventual 3-2 victory that displayed just what our intentions were.

Against Korea, we were again expected to lose. Yet Jonny O provided the perfect pass, Mathis proved clinically that despite the resemblance of a six foot penis, he was in Korea to show the European teams that he had the skills to make it far. A great U.S. performance kept them at bay, and with a better centre defender in than Agoos, a win would have likely ensued. Friedel still showed that he was a great keeper, who would perform at the peak of pressure.

In the Poland game, our players didn't perform. Upsetting, yes, but Friedel again did well and we got luck to get through.

Mexico. The biggest rivalry we have, and they did exactly what was needed to be done. Brad turned in his best performance in the tournament, in a game he had to be great to prevent us from losing. There's no doubt that Mexico was the more accomplished technical team on the day, but every U.S. player did just what they were in the side to do. Reyna finally gave us a highlight moment, a wonderful run before passing to Wolff, who in his first game of the tournament tortured the Mexican defense with pace, but in this instance provided a perfect flick to McBride, who finished with aplomb. In the rest of the game we saw great resilience to avoid a conceding a goal, and then substitute Eddie Lewis put in a brilliant gross for Donovan's goal when we needed it most, really killing off the game. What brilliance indeed.

Germany is still crushing. Yet it may have proved to have the biggesty impact on American football in the end. Every American player was brilliant on the night. We played a rough, dirty team with the second most World Cup title of all time, and for all intensive purposes embarassed them. They were just absolutely outplayed in every part of the word, with the best performance coming from Landon Donovan, shownig the Germans just what he was made out of. In the end a free kick goal conceded from an iffy free kick seperated us, but if not for a terrible officiating call and a breathtaking goalkeeping performance, we would have gone through to the semi finals.

Everything about this tournament changed American football. First off, it brought this team to the forefront of culture. For all of the embarassment in France, we had to show we could live up to the American standards and perform. And boy did we. Our quarterfinal run put U.S. football onto Leno, Letterman, the Today Show, ESPN, everywhere we'd always wanted to be but never had been able to get to. Suddenly there was this newfound American respect for football. The media saw that this was a good team, who could show the American spirit. Suddenly the nation was into us, following our run the way big fans of the team had before. It was something we'd needed for some time - casual fans. It may sound weird, but you need a larger fanbase than a group of diehards to make a team well followed. And we got that with this run.

Also incredibly importantly was how this impacted MLS. Suddenly casual football supporters had been re-energized. Now they wanted to go to games again, to enjoy football first hand. However, you can't quite get this from a Premiership match if you're living in Nantucket, Kentucky, can you? So this brought more and more fans to MLS stadiums. Not just fans, but new fans, so new income. This increased attendance has changed the whole complexion of MLS. It's not just for the egos of the league officials - bigger crowds means bigger income flow into MLS. This has led to better development of a developing league. It's not impossible to imagine MLS would have gone defunct without a good run. It's not likely, but it's not impossible. Either way, Major League Soccer got more money and more publicity because of the run, which has led to investors being more willing to put money into it, and thus a better, more financially stable league. It's these better investors that's led to the Home Depot Center, along with the many new soccer-specific stadiums going up all through MLS. It's the money from these men that's given us the chance to expand our league, to try to raise the bar again.

The impact on MLS hasn't just been felt within America - it's been felt around the world. The success of MLS players in the World Cup brought new respect for the league across Europe and the world, meaning our players were and are more likely to get a good look in Europe if they perform in our league. In that summer, out of the seven goals scored, all but one was scored through an American player. And that was O' Brien, who we love. O' Brien first, but then McBride (2x), Donovan (2x + cause of OG) and Mathis (1x) provided the goals for that team. It wasn't just the goals though. Beasley caused a huge stir with his electrifying pace. Every MLS player, bar Agoos, did wonderfully.

These performances made European teams realise that players who do well in MLS do well anywhere - meaning they can perform in England, in Germany, anywhere. Since this tournament our players have simply flooded to Europe. Howard, Mathis, Donovan, Beasley, McBride, Bocanegra...the list goes on and on. Now our players are playing across not just America, but in Europe. When these MLS players don't just go to Europe, they perform there, it opens the doors for more and more Americans to go abroad in the future. Which raises the profile of the league and puts more money into it.

You may say "Okay, that's all well and fine, but how will this help the U.S. win a World Cup?" Well I'll show you how - much in the method of 6 steps to Kevin Bacon. It all links together beautifully, to set up a better overall world for the American national team.

When our MLS players did so well in the World Cup, it showed that they can peform in the highest level of competition. Which put more money into MLS, and also opened the doors for more MLS players to go to Europe. This brings more respect and more money into Major League Soccer, meaning the league is more financially stable and more likely to produce stars in the future. These players join those already in Europe to gain invaluable experience at the top flight. In a short time, it leads to not just our biggest players, but our whole team having experience in Europe, within the Premiership, Bundesliga...even the Champions League and UEFA Cup. With this new experience, our team is better equipped to take on the huge task of the World Cup. Which means we will have all the tools to finally take the tournament by storm and win it.

So cheers to you, heroes of 2002 - for you have opened the doors for an amazingly bright future within American football.
 

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Without a doubt, this revitalized the nation. I remember during the World Cup, our NT's exploits made the front page headline of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Not the Sports section, the entire paper. This showed the rest of America how good the Americans were. I remember breaking down and crying after we lost to Germany. It was crushing, we should have won that game. Now the rest of Americans are energized to show that 2002 wasn't just a fluke. We don't want to be a one hit wonder, we want to show the world what we have.

Everything about the current NT is better than we had in 2002. Yes, Friedel's retirement is a big hit, but it's not that massive. We have Keller, Howard, and many other talented keepers.

2002 opened the eyes of many Americans.
 

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If da US NT keeps on winning or do good in WCs...they will gain more non-US/US soccer supporters , and the sport will get more exposure in da US mainstream and popularity. It is a multi-race country and a huge counrty...u r bound to find some talent and this sport will overtake NHL 1 day...da lockout aint helpin y'all :happy: There r more mexicans than humans in da US...u know they wont support hockey , but , MLS club chivas.....yes , rrriba :shades: Now !time to enter da libertador tourney...not yet , 1st build some stadiums..then 1 day...yeah! :shades:
 

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Very nice post Isaac.

IMO it is another step but certainly not the base. I would say the NASL was the base. There have been many steps along the way. NASL late 60's, general acceptance as a HS sport mid 70's was a huge boost, Pele being signed, Kyle Rote, Jr winning the superstars competition changed many attitudes for those of us playing, the advancment of travel/club soccer in the 80's (3 off my first travel team now coach in college), the US making the WC, MISL also helped in the 80's and kept a lot playing jobs, the US hosting the WC, MLS formed, WC 2002. These are the biggies I remember each was hyped as a big jump but they have all been steady steps.
 

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And dont forget about da p40 program . It was created after da shitty 98 US wc performance...it was to groom da best young US talents so they could compete against da best in da world 1 day.

Ex p40 playas

Donovon
Beasley
Howard
oneywu
Eddie Jonhson
Adu
Spector
Gaven
Szetela
Rossi
and so on.

Now it is called....da nike best or something like dat :shades:
 

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While the 2002 World Cup was important, it is also easy to overemphasize that importance. Don't forget that another goal by Portugal or South Korea could have brought the journey to an early end, and remember that the "success" of 1994--even if not quite like that of 2002--did not carry over to 1998, where the US finished dead last. Having said that, it was important in showing that the US is progressing with its mentality and skill, and of course it was also a great way for the sport to gain more attention domestically.

Yet more important has been the overall steady progression of the level of skill over the years. The players are becoming more talented, the "Passport Yanks" are of a higher quality, more players are being shipped out overseas, the domestic infrastructure is constantly improving, and the profile of the sport is increasing. As the scouting system and the youth programs expand, and the sport moves away from "developing" the players in high school and college and towards training them at a much younger age, hopefully in the form of football acadamies connected to football clubs, this progress will only continue to move forward.
 

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we got jipped by germany with the hand ball on the goal line

and claudia reyna just missed that volley from a 20 in from midfield
 

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^ummm wrong

It did alot for us in a pos way

and yeah we got bambozzled against Germany, but us beating Portugal and me watching it and being able to talk shit to all the Portugese kids in school made the world cup a great one for me and the US
 
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