The USMNT have a rather large match today. Argentina, a country with over a century of history in a sport that has only really started picking up in our very own nation as of a couple decades ago, is on the docket. Against our nation, the upstarts of the soccer world. Where it is just now picking up steam (I felt like saying it again).
But boy is it picking up.
Still in its fledgling stage, American soccer is starting to come into a really exciting time. The guys who have held this team in a position of relevance for so long are at the point where they can actually win a piece of serious silverware before they start to fade out of the spectrum.
How cool would that be? These guys truly are the American Outlaws. In every sense of the word. An outlaw is someone who is a fugitive at large. It is the perfect mantra for the USMNT to adopt. There are powerhouse nations in soccer who have held down the fort over the past century. Countries like Argentina. They are the ‘law’ of the soccer world. The authority.
Then there is America. As mentioned, they have only been relevant for a couple of decades. No one takes them seriously. Antonio Conte openly scoffed at American soccer (more specifically MLS). It’s just part of the Outlaw aura.
This USMNT is trying to upset the authority of the soccer world. They are trying to do the improbable. They are the Outlaw that is trying to snuff out the pre-established authority and become their own authority that rules the world. In yet another thing.
Give it another two years and the USMNT is going to start looking very different. Young guns are coming and these young guns are not the ‘Outlaw’ type that Clint Dempsey and Jermaine Jones are. At least not yet. It will come with time. They are widely renowned talents. Christian Pulisic? Yeah, everyone knows he is good. Julian Green? Same thing. These are established names.
With established names comes an established authority and presence. Players like Pulisic and Green demand respect. Or at least, that’s the idea with the right development and growth. But players like Dempsey and Jones are still part of this Outlaw aura of American soccer that has had to earn everything they got.
They are laying the ground work for what the next generation will defend and live up to. That Outlaw aura is going to carry on for quite some time, but for the original outlaws to pass the baton on to the next generation in the form of the Copa America Centenario? Well that would make our next generation of Outlaws rather inspired wouldn’t it?