Op-Ed: E Pluribus Unum

For Rogers, life was a painful balancing act until today.

For Rogers, life was a painful balancing act until today.

Zack Goldman, pensive on the recent public statements of Robbie Rogers & Jozy Altidore

In an open letter on his website today, Robbie Rogers came out as gay, announced that he is stepping away indefinitely from professional soccer and unknowingly invited a torrent of support from US fans that was not unexpected if you’ve been following along with the recent narratives of domestic soccer.

The announcement, just a year and a half after Rogers scored the equalizer against Mexico in Jürgen Klinsmann’s coaching debut, has sent—and is still sending—shockwaves through the world of sports.

And, that response—from American soccer fans, at least—has been overwhelming and unwavering in its support for a 25-year-old who clearly has felt a weighted shroud over keeping his orientation private for long. It’s hard to wonder what it is like to walk around a world that is often not speaking your language, through advertisement, through innuendo, through media or whatever.

I’ve had the great fortune of seeing a lot of incredible moments in U.S. Soccer history, but nothing has fueled me with the pride that I have felt this past month as American players and fans have stood united in support of human rights and dignity.

Confronting raciism head-on....

Confronting raciism head-on….

First, there was Jozy Altidore’s level-headed, articulate, and forceful response towards the racism he encountered during a Dutch Cup match against Den Bosch. Now, a community rallies around Rogers’s powerful personal statement, which speaks honestly to the difficulty of revealing who you truly are, whilst also addressing the issue of homosexuality in soccer.

A mere discussion of homosexuality’s existence in the sport is often labeled as taboo by those within the game. It is a silence that often obstructs any kind of legitimate discourse on the topic, much less any meaningful action in an attempt to ease the burden on ‘potential’ gay players (hint: they exist). Rules and disciplinary action for those that prejudice gay players may be prevalent, but efforts to truly integrate and push acceptance, nay, standardization for those of an “alternate” persuasion are invisible.

Rogers eloquently and panoptically addresses the issue from the perspective of his own story—and it’s an honesty that will no doubt help others in similar situations struggling with the same search for peace and true self-discovery in the future. And further, one can’t help but wonder what struggles Rogers may have had to deal with growing up in a religious family.

Both Altidore’s post-match interview and Rogers’s letter represent astute, heartfelt, and mature views of monumental societal issues at a time when too few, both within and outside of sports, are ready to admit that we have a problem addressing them.

Instead—had Rogers not made his statement today—the narrative would have been about not creating faux role models out of athletes in the wake of the alleged actions of Oscar Pistorius.

Meanwhile role models are sitting there right in front of our very eyes.

These are two courageous actions from two men who make it rewarding and prideful to be a US fan regardless of the result on the field and whether Jermaine Jones should start or not.

The great thing about the responses of Altidore and Rogers are that they’ve done more than bring issues of racism and homophobia to the fore.

Hearing these men deliver such powerful, moving, and human rebuttals to prejudice has been, at the risk of sounding reductive, inspirational. To borrow the phrase Thierry Henry’s anti-racism campaign used during his years in England, events like these enliven a desire to “stand up, speak out.”

Altidore and Rogers have spawned responses that are more than plain indifference—a polite, accepting “okay” or “whatever floats your boat.” They have solicited something much more than a blind eye.

Rather, for American fans in the past fortnight, they have engendered a pride in our diversity—a pride in our ability to recognize it, to embody it, to celebrate it, and to defend it. The American ethos alive and well with cleats and a ball.

It has made me realize that the best part of being a fan of U.S. Soccer has nothing to do with goals or results, but the culture of openness, acceptance, and togetherness that is emerging as part of the fabric of our game. At a time when tribalism and bigotry have unfortunately had such a huge impact on global football, it is a quality that cannot be taken for granted, nor can its importance be emphasized enough.

This isn’t a forum for debate, but Sepp Blatter may have suggested that US soccer growth is not what his expectation was after 1994, but I say that US soccer is the beacon, is leading the sport. Sepp’s overtones are to “grow the game…..”

Haven’t Altidore and Rogers done just that?

I–US fan, writer, American–am proud of Robbie Rogers. I am proud of his American teammates for their supportive words. And, I am proud of U.S. Soccer supporters for embodying our nation’s celebrated credo: E pluribus unum. Out of many, one.

Here’s hoping we see Robbie Rogers back on the field soon, in a sport that is more open and accepting than the one he left behind.  As the great Eddie Pope so wonderfully wrote to Rogers earlier today: “Brave men like you will make it so that one day there’s no need for an announcement.  That day can’t arrive soon enough.”

More:

Andy Iro on Roger’s decision to come out

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79 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Alli on 2013/02/15 at 4:23 PM

    Couldn’t agree more.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Crow on 2013/02/15 at 4:51 PM

    I should probably just keep my mouth shut but I don’t think I’ve ever been more angry at an article.

    I think racism is probably the most disgusting thing on the planet and I feel it is revolting that Robbie Rogers’ situation is being compared to what Jozy dealt with or much, much worse acts or racism that happen all over the globe everyday.

    I’m sorry for Robbie if he has been treated in a poor manner over his orientation or if he is subjected to hateful treatment to come and I hope he finds peace, but I don’t agree with him- I view his behavior as a moral choice just like I don’t approve of Tiger Woods’ actions or some random guy or athlete sleeping around or cheating on his wife.

    I’m 27 years old and tired of the media shoving down our throats that not only should we accept immoral behavior but we should champion it.

    It just angers me that because I feel this way that I am viewed as a ‘bigot’.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2013/02/15 at 5:35 PM

      Crow: I think you should step back and re-evaluate your thoughts.

      I don’t want this comments section to be anything more than focused on the article above.

      It’s the antiquated and uneducated view point, respectfully, above that does the one thing that no human should ever be deprived: Allow them to live their life free of persecution due to immutable characteristic….regardless of what that characteristic is.

      That, existentially, is what “life” is all about. Free will. And no one, black, white, green, blue, gay, 10 toes, 12 toes, lisp (and I’ll throw in creed) should be subjected to persecution.

      I’ll leave it there, but please don’t bring these viewpoints in here. I encourage you to spend time and learn about those with a different sexual orientation (whatever that may be) and realize they may or may not have a stronger moral compass than you–but it won’t be predicated on either of your orientations.

      I encourage no one else to reply here, if only because this is a soccer forum primarily.

      As a note, I may delete both comments.

      Reply

    • Posted by ScruffyB on 2013/02/15 at 10:43 PM

      Hi Crow,

      Homosexuality is not a “moral choice.” Robbie Rogers didn’t choose his sexuality any more than Jozy Altidore chose his skin color. Frankly, if Rogers had a choice, he probably would have chosen to be straight, because his sexuality has obviously brought him suffering. You might say, “well that’s just my opinion,” but this isn’t a matter of opinion. Gay people don’t choose to be gay. Some dudes are simply sexually attracted to other men rather than women, and they can’t change that any more than you can change your own sexuality. Disrespecting someone for such a fundamental part of their identity and calling them deviant just because they are a minority is an attack on basic human equality.

      One of the most moral, loyal, and generous people I know is a young gay man currently enduring harsh treatment from his family after coming out to them at the age of 22. I’ll repeat: this is one of the most moral people I know. When you have a friend like him, you will understand why your anti-gay bias is so wrong and so hurtful.

      After reading a bit further down in the comments (hi Sean Tuxill), I’d add that I’m not satisfied by the approach that says “I will tolerate homosexuality, even though it is a sin, because I know I am a sinner too.” It’s better than pigheaded vitriol, and I’m glad of that, but it’s still an attack on basic equality. Homosexuality is no more (or less) sinful than heterosexuality. You may as well say, “Oh, it’s okay Jozy Altidore is black, because I’m a tolerant person who understands that nobody’s perfect.” Obviously that’s an offensive statement, because being black is not an imperfection. Likewise, homosexuality is not immoral. All men are created equal, including those created gay.

      Reply

      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2013/02/16 at 9:30 AM

        Just because something is not right for you, does not mean it is wrong.

        People have touched upon Nature vs. Nurture regarding homosexuality. All I have to say is hate is nurtured. Children are not hateful, it is a product of their environment and most carry this hate and spite into adulthood. As parents, we have a moral obligation not to pedal hate and prejudices.

        Reply

  3. Posted by Kevin on 2013/02/15 at 6:34 PM

    I’m not going to say too much because I understand that this is meant to remain a soccer forum, but I am confused as to why Rogers would quit on soccer because he came out. For all the support that he is getting for having the courage to come out, it seems to be a step in the opposite direction if he’s citing his sexuality as a reason to quit the game. * Disclaimer here as I am yet to read his letter

    Q: I’m not a writer here, nor do I have any position of authority, but in the future if there’s going to be a post like this, could we at least agree that this will inherently open up a conversation that encompasses much more than just soccer, instead of denying a voice, especially on any article championing what is right and just? Like I said, I am not a writer here, nor do I have any position of authority, but I, as a member of the community, would enjoy this piece more if there were a deep comment section to go with it.

    Reply

    • Posted by Crow on 2013/02/15 at 7:10 PM

      The only reason I commented above was because it was an op-ed piece and I was strongly irritated by the comparison between Jozy Altidore and Robbie Rogers. I understand that Matthew feels strongly about this subject and that this is his site so he can allow whatever comments he wants, but I can’t comprehend how a non-hateful or non-offensive comment can be shunned as so just because it doesn’t agree with the viewpoint in the article even if my viewpoint is in the minority. That is my main issue with the whole subject- that you aren’t ‘allowed’ to have the other viewpoint or an intelligent discussion without being looked down on as a hateful human being with an antiquated viewpoint.

      I nearly committed suicide at a younger age due to bullying because of my background so I have an enormous amount of empathy for those who undergo any sort of bullying (for whatever the reason) and don’t believe they should ever be subjected to that behavior.

      Reply

      • Posted by th3bogart on 2013/02/15 at 9:22 PM

        Saying that Robbie’s sexual orientation is a sin or immoral or wrong is hateful and offensive and completely ignorant of basic scientific understanding of human sexuality.

        Sometimes two sides of an issue are not equal and this is a case where one side is clearly wrong and does not deserve a voice. Homophobia is disgusting and offensive and anything but acceptance of who someone is does not deserve to be heard because it is so clearly wrong.

        Reply

        • Posted by BW on 2013/02/16 at 4:06 PM

          “anything but acceptance of who someone is does not deserve to be heard because it is so clearly wrong.”

          by that logic we shouldn’t listen to you because you fail to accept who Crow “is”. I think that is Crow’s point….if people are entitled to be themselves, then people should be entitled to be themselves on both sides of an issue.

          Reply

          • Posted by th3bogart on 2013/02/17 at 9:36 AM

            Crow is choosing to have these views, Rogers is not choosing to be homosexual. Crow can (and should) change these views, Rogers can’t just stop being gay. Just because someone says 2+2=5 doesn’t mean we have to respect that opinion because it’s just plain wrong.

            My wording wasn’t great I’ll admit and I guess was a little too broad and vague. All I’m trying to say is that not all opinions deserve to be taken seriously, and while Crow and others have the right to spew whatever nonsense they want, people have the right to and should call him out on it.

            Reply

  4. Posted by patrickhattrick on 2013/02/15 at 6:51 PM

    Has there ever been an openly gay soccer player before? I can’t remember any previous instances similar to this one and am amazed that this is not getting more media coverage…

    Reply

    • To my knowledge, there has never been an active pro soccer player who has come out. That includes Rogers since he says he’s stepping away from the game.

      Matt, I think this is actually one of the few community sites on the web where we could actually talk about this a little bit. Admittedly, we generally stick to pure soccer commentary, but the people here aren’t dummies. If everyone can be level-headed and not turn it into a First Take debate (though, oddly, Skip and Stephen A. are at their least obnoxious when having a serious discussion about race and/or religion – it does happen, on occasion), then I think that some decent thinking can come from this.

      And I’ll throw in my $.02 since I’ve had a few hours to think about it and hopefully this won’t raise anyone’s hackles (this may turn into more than just two pennies, sorry about that in advance). These are my viewpoints, put forth in what I hope is a non-abrasive manner.

      I believe homosexuality to be a sin. Regardless of whether it’s a choice or not. But that’s because humanity has a sinful nature, and that includes every single person on this earth, regardless of skin pigment, toe count, religious beliefs, whatever. And though I believe something to be a sin, I cannot expect the world to agree with me if it’s operating under a different set of morals (I’m trying not to sound elitist here, and if it’s coming across that way then rest assured, it’s my failings as a writer that are causing it). And beyond that, just because I believe that this – or anything else – is a sin doesn’t mean that I’m better than the person who I perceive to be sinning, because I’m a sinner, too. We’re all flawed, we’re all human, and we all need grace for things – Lord knows, I need it every single day just to not be a horrible person to my co-workers – and that’s really my point. If someone chooses to elevate Robbie Rogers for being brave and acknowledging his orientation to the world, then that’s fine, I’m all for transparency. And if someone chooses to tear him down for it, that person has to remember that the standard they are judging by condemns them just as much as it condemns him.

      As for putting him and Jozy in the same discussion…Crow, I’m okay with that. I see what you’re driving at but the fact of the matter is that someone should not be judged as a footballer by anything other than their talent and their effort and conduct on the pitch. I’ll get on Jozy’s back about seeming out of shape or disinterested in pressing, and I wish that Robbie’s football IQ was on par with his physical gifts, because Sweats knows we could use more speed and talent on the wings. But I will never go after a player’s colour, or religion, or sexual orientation. Gay marriage, civil rights, all that goes to the “doesn’t matter” bin when someone steps onto the field with me. If you can make my team better and comport yourself with class while playing, I couldn’t care less what you do off the field. If you can earn a kit number…you should play. Simple as that.

      Reply

      • Posted by crow on 2013/02/15 at 8:50 PM

        I think this is well put and gets to the points I was trying to more eloquently.

        I hope if Robbie still wants to play football, he chooses to do so again- the moments in the ’08 Olympics, the perfect corner kick to Bornstein, the goal against Mexico are some of my favorite USMNT memories. It seemed that something was always holding Robbie back from reaching his full potential, and maybe this struggle was it. If he decides he wants to move away from the game permanently I hope he chooses to do so.

        I’ve read the article a few more times and I think the connection between the two has to do more with timing than anything. I actually probably wouldn’t have commented but before seeing the article here I saw the story break on ESPN, and I was shocked how someone who fairly mildly said something to the jist of “I’m glad Robbie is at peace etc, but I don’t agree with his behavior” was absolutely eviscerated in the comment section. It was appalling- so that was in the back of my mind.

        I fully understand too that the behavior, pure ignorance or hatred of many who would decry Robbie’s orientation doesnt help those who I believe (Like Matt) accept a discussion- people that are just trying to stick up for human beings and freedom in general. Even though I disagree firmly on this subject I admire where Matt is coming from and his advocacy of many good causes. Even though I had learned a good bit of American Sign Language and volunteered for hundreds of hours with the deaf, I wasn’t even aware of the Deaf soccer team, etc. and other programs related to that.

        Reply

      • Posted by matthewsf on 2013/02/16 at 1:28 AM

        Absolutely fine by all discourse here what I didn’t want to entertain is the commentary that occurred around morality which I, personally, consider to be a non-starter, non-issue.

        There was a Norwich City player that came out I believe right after he retired who committed suicide at a later date.

        Also if this general topic interests you I highly encourage checking the documentary Codebreaker, done by a college friend of mine I must admit, about the fascinating life of Alan Turing

        Reply

        • Posted by Zack G. on 2013/02/16 at 7:42 AM

          Correct. The player’s name is Justin Fashanu. Not only was he gay, he was black – at a time when both homophobia and racism were arguably at an all-time high in the English game.

          There are lots of interesting works out there on him that I encourage everyone to look into.

          Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2013/02/17 at 8:20 AM

          Anton Hysen (son of former Liverpool player, Glen) recently came out, as did Gareth Thomas (rugby), albeit at the end of his career.

          Graeme Le Saux and Freddie Ljunberg alway had their sexuality questioned, and both refused to answer questions. Both have since said that they did not deny the rumors because they did not feel that there was anything wrong with being gay, and denying the rumors would imply that there was. This lead to the famous, disgusting Robbie Fowler incident.

          West Ham United’s Matt Jarvis has posed for Attitude magazine to offer his support to the issue and community, and raise awareness.

          PR expert Max Clifford has said that there are a number of gay players in the English professional game. They are ‘out’ within their clubs and they have a lot of support. But he has advised them not to come out because he fears it would be detrimental to their careers, in terms of media coverage, sponsorships, and obviously, the vile terrace chants.

          Have any “high profile” American players come out (sports that dominate the column inches)?

          Reply

          • During their careers? Not that I can recall. John Amaechi is the only guy I can think of who played one of the “big three” sports who’s come out in recent memory. There have been numerous women in tennis, hoops, etc who have come out during their careers; ones that spring to mind are Billy Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Sheryl Swoopes, and our favorite US winger, Megan Rapinoe.

            But male athletes, during their careers? Hasn’t happened yet, that I know of.

            Reply

  5. Posted by SamT on 2013/02/15 at 9:35 PM

    Damn, Eddie Pope. Hit the nail on the head. Couldn’t agree more.

    And I would agree (in a different way) that homophobia is different in nature than racism. Racism is almost universally condemned in modern society. Homophobia is not. In some ways homophobia today is where US society was with racism 50 years ago.

    My hat is off to you Mr Rogers.

    Reply

  6. Posted by Paul on 2013/02/16 at 12:26 AM

    As a heterosexual, I do not presume to know what it would be like to come out as gay. To come out as gay in such a difficult circumstance requires courage beyond my understanding. I applaud Robbie for making this difficult decision public. He not only honors his own self; he stands as a tribute to the thousands of gay, bisexual, and transgendered youth who have played football since the first boot was laced and will play until the game is extinct.

    My problem with this blog is that there is no mention of Megan Rapinoe. Yes, she has already come out. She has received her just acclaim. And then her fifteen minutes of lesbian-induced fame faded away, expectedly. But when a US mens’ national teamer comes out of the closet? Holy Hell, it’s time to re-examine everything we ever thought about sport and life and sex and group dynamics and masculinity.

    This cyncial view so accurate? Why does this blog post fail to see “the role models are sitting there right in front of our very eyes”? Is there an inherent expectation, from US and non-US fans, that it is the more “male” women who play the game, so being gay is expected from them? Is this what kept Leander from improving his otherwise excellent piece on David Testo by mentioning Megan—just wanting to have that first male scoop, because that is the only way gay issues in sports can be advanced? Is it just that Megan looked edgy–styling presumed “d-ke”–that the media and blogosphere does not require meditations on sexuality and sport, and momentous words and phrases crafted for such a solemn occasion? Is this just another occasion where women’s sport is sidelined while the men take the praise for success?
    I–US fan, writer, American–am proud of Robbie Rogers following in the footsteps of a superb trailblazer, Megan Rapinoe. I am proud of his American teammates for their supportive words, just as I was when Megan’s teammates and the media rushed to her side for support (although I find scant reflection reviewing this blog singling out Rapinoe’s actions and their import. I hope my brief search was too quick.) And, I am proud of U.S. Soccer supporters, in supporting the strides by Megan and Robbie, for embodying our nation’s celebrated credo: E pluribus unum. Out of many, one. Out of many individual progressions—from individuals across a nation—we become a single people. I hope the author agrees with me on this.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2013/02/16 at 1:10 AM

      Wow. I’m not sure what is spurring the negativity out there.

      Paul — really was this your thought in reading the article? This is news. And I would dare say–and please correct–that being openly gay is less publicly accepted in the male game then the female game. The Women’s World Cup in 2011 featured more than 10 players and coach Sundhage who were openly gay. Conversely the secondary level publication Goal.com had to turn off the comments on their piece today given the vitriol and outright disgusting insults that were being hurled at Rogers.

      This in no way diminishes Rapinoe’s public statements (so don’t attempt to hang a commenter on that) and could the author have chosen to write her into the piece effectively? Absolutely. Is his article worse for it? No this focused on current events. Was Rapinoe’s applauded by this blog and this twitter feed? Yes. As was Lori Lindsey –who you somehow conveniently gloss over because she is what, not as popular a player? She came out last September. I’m curious why you feel Lindsey didn’t need to be mentioned in your comment but Rapinoe did?

      I further consider it disrespectful that you choose to castigate the author on a series of presumptions (“is that Megan looked edgy-styling presumed “dike”). You don’t know Zack — did you know what Zack has spent a lifetime doing? Supporting women’s soccer. Why don’t you ask him about it?

      Reply

      • Posted by matthewsf on 2013/02/16 at 1:22 AM

        And let me add this. This publication–it’s not a blog–has, outside of the dates of the actual Women’s World Cup, covered and written about women’s soccer far more than ESPN or Fox Soccer…and it’s not a full-time endeavor..and we don’t pay our writers.

        Reply

      • Posted by Zack G. on 2013/02/16 at 7:28 AM

        Apologies, folks… missed all these comments overnight.

        Matt, thank you for that response. It’s really everything I wanted to say, so I won’t belabor the point (or, at least, those points. I might belabor lots of other things).

        Paul, thanks very much for your comment as well. As Matthew points out, I’ve spent most of my working life attempting to change the perception of women’s soccer in our country at the, unfortunately, most uncelebrated of levels – not the international level, but the professional, semi-professional, and elite youth levels. Allow me to explain a bit about my background:

        My brother and I founded the Tony Danza Army, a supporters group for our local semi-professional club, the Pali Blues, when we were home in the summers from college. We loved women’s soccer, but bemoaned the fact that the atmosphere and lack of media coverage did not seem to suit the absurdly high level of talent on the pitch. The best club in North America in 2008, and perhaps the world that year, was playing in a suburban high school in front of scant crowds – and, in our minds, that was a shame.

        So, what did we do? Well, we told our friends, who told their friends, who told local newspapers and great soccer blogs like Matt’s, who then told some more people. We were lucky to have great owners and an excellent general manager named Jason Lemire, who did everything they could to “grow the game” and spared no expense – in terms of time, money, and effort – to make sure we got prospective converts and diehard fans alike through the gate. And games got a lot more fun… and people began to get passionate about grassroots soccer, women’s soccer, and particularly the nexus between the two.

        We didn’t just rise to action because people were missing quality soccer. We rose to action because many of these players, as you rightly point out, were bonafide role models. Many of them were my role models. And it would be a shame for us all to miss them in front of our very eyes.

        ***

        I was fortunate enough last summer to be hired as the Director of Operations for the Pali Blues alongside my brother, which I consider to be – regardless of where else the soccer world takes me – one of the biggest honors I could ever dream of. I was given the chance to work for my local club, alongside elite athletes, and for a non-profit organization whose interests in the game and values reflected my own. Most of all, I got to work with my brother, whom I admire, respect, and learn from every day – both inside and outside of the game.

        And Pali was a damn good team. We went undefeated in the regular season and came within 30 seconds of winning the USL W-League title. But, more importantly than any of that – forgive it if it sounds hackneyed or sentimental, but it’s the truth – was the fact that we were able to actively change public perception about women’s soccer and bring people (not just girls, but people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds) closer to their role models.

        I was lucky enough to grow up in the ’90s, when the American soccer landscape was being laid down for me by people who came before. Similar to my relationship with the internet, I am old enough to remember what there was before the ’94 World Cup, MLS and the ’99 Women’s World Cup, but not that well. Most of it involves Dennis Hamlet playing indoor soccer. So, I grew up with our domestic soccer infrastructure in many ways, and I remember it in its dialup, DSL, and wireless phases, so to speak.

        My goal is to be a part of the next wave of pioneers, the next wave of builders – the people who make sure women’s soccer isn’t something we only care about two summers out of every four, but something that is sustainable, professional, and has an unshakable sense of self. I want a league that doesn’t aim low because it’s aimed high before and it hasn’t worked out; I want to be a part of something sensibly built to last that gives the best and brightest from our country – and from around the world – a place to play in front of big crowds and people who see them as their heroes.

        ***

        I’m now living in England getting my masters degree while working for a Football League club that will remain nameless. It’s a fantastic, family-oriented club with a good heart – and the team having the most success this year within the organization is our women’s team, which has made unprecedented progress in the Women’s FA Cup against clubs much, much bigger than us.

        But, you think WPS, WUSA, etc. had woeful support? You should see how women’s soccer is perceived here, in a country that had a BAN against women’s football just over 40 years ago.

        Moments like these remind you, as the article I hope seems to validly indicate, just how far along we are as a soccer nation.

        Next weekend, our women’s team will get to play in the men’s stadium for the first time ever in the FA Cup – and I will be there, with great pride, covering it.

        ***

        As Matthew points out… the story is as it is because it is news – and because it IS a different discussion than coming out in the women’s game. It’s not a more important one by any means. It is different though. That’s NOT to diminish the significance of Megan Rapinoe, Lori Lindsey, and other players who have come out. It’s not to insist that there’s an inherent phenomenological difference between men and women coming out in sports. It is simply to say THIS JUST HAPPENED, and THAT DIDN’T… so we wrote about the one that did.

        It’s also really different than the Jozy Altidore situation in spirit and in fact – and, to answer, other questions, my attempt is not to haphazardly conflate the two events. Rather, it’s to applaud two men – friends and teammates – for a set of courageous acts that filled me with pride – in them and those who supported them – just two weeks apart.

        I hope that answers your questions and responds to your criticisms. Thanks for reading.

        Reply

        • Posted by Paul on 2013/02/16 at 10:50 AM

          @Matt and Zack–I appreciate your comments and the blog post. In my comment, I was raising a criticism in this forum, a forum that has been at the fore of gay issues in the past, that could come from certain feminist and media studies figures–criticisms that I believe are valid and need to be voiced. I should have made such a distinction clearer in my reply, and with hindsight, I should have edited the piece to make this clearer. I did not mean to insult the author and I applaud his work on the field and online to encourage the women’s game. I apologize for the negative, pejorative tone of the comment. (Even after the post I was looking for a way to edit it; I should’ve put a reply that stated my passions in a more accurate manner.)

          The main point I wanted to raise is that while we should applaud Robbie Rogers for his courage, it would be helpful, to improve commentary of the game in the US, to compare Roger’s act with US women and coaches who have come out. Frankly, I did not know that Lori Lindsey or Pia Sundhage had come out, because of how the media has focused on certain features/themes of the US team. In short, we need to raise our own expectations for covering the game, for thinking about the game, for talking about the game–because if we don’t do it, it will take another decade or more for the major outlets to do so.

          To say that The Shin Guardian is “just” a blog–and it is a publication–isn’t, in my mind, a slur. It resides at the cutting edge of commentary about the game, and I think we should be focusing on other questions than the common ones associated with the Rogers story. I think this piece was a good one; it did do more than the common “Wow, Rogers is gay! Good that he can come out of the closet. Hope the men’s game changes!” response from the major outlets. But just as mgoblog and other sports blogs have pushed major outlets to take seriously various statistical analyses, this blog/publication and others could become a tool to significantly improve the conversations occurring in major soccer media.

          What kind of “truth to power” did I want this post to speak to? I wanted something that I feel that emphasized the power of Roger’s action by comparing it to the women’s game and the impact–or lack thereof–in the media and national consciousness of gay women who have come out. There is also a fertile post to be written about the ways that stereotyping fits into media bias and story-telling. Further, all the facts that Matt mentioned about gay female players and there is not a peep of worry about whether corporate sponsors will support female players and teams who come out. It would be interesting just to do a Google search concerning this story and see if the players Matt mentioned even get noticed in various stories on Rogers.

          Basically, if I disagree at all with what Matt and Zack replied, it is that this would be the perfect time to mention the women’s game–if not simply to break the simplistic storylines that have dogged the US international women for decades (What great role models they are! Is US team X better than their predecessors? How hot is Alex/Mia/X?). I want the national media to cover the women’s game just as seriously as the men’s game, and this would have been the perfect time to break such a mold. Yes, the men’s game needs analysis, but I think the women’s game is aching for better coverage and this would have been the perfect opportunity to do so.

          Reply

  7. Robbie, I always pulled for you to succeed, especially with the Nats. I’ve always been one of your supporters but never an apologist. You have a talent that you’ve been blessed with and nurtured. If you didn’t always clear the bar that you and others placed so high, so be it. Few of us have acheived everything we hoped to accomplish.

    As a soccer fan, I’ll be sorry if you decide to leave the game but I won’t feel sorry for you because where you decide to find happiness is your choice and nobody else’s. Live long and prosper dude.

    Reply

  8. Posted by matthewsf on 2013/02/16 at 1:33 AM

    Lets start up a new discussion. How do people feel about USSF supporting a “leader” who steered two World Cups to regions of questionable social environs?

    What would Sunil Gulati say to a US soccer player is they expressed reservations of traveling to Russia (for fear or for protest) because of the prevalence of anti-gay sentiment?

    Reply

    • Posted by crow on 2013/02/16 at 2:18 AM

      Let’s just say this- I made sure that I was on the World Cup to Brazil because I wanted to attend one at some point in my life and I don’t feel comfortable attending the tournaments in Russia and Qatar (not saying I would never visit those countries in another setting). I’ve been to every continent and several countries but I just don’t see those tournaments going well on a social setting when you think about the views of those lands on sexuality, alcohol, women, etc.

      I understand too that I’m going to be attending a World Cup in a country that is being exploited and suffering from hosting the Tournament- but I guess what are you going to do.

      I’m hoping that Sunil’s reasoning was other than there was nothing he could do, and there was too much to lose by making a statement. Principally, that doesn’t seem like enough but I wasn’t in that position.

      You should attend Sunil’s next fan conference and ask him. :) I’d love to see him answer that- he’d probably get very defensive. I remember his reaction when someone asked about him about Jack Warner, lol.

      Reply

    • Posted by Freegle on 2013/02/16 at 8:11 AM

      I’m sure he would say that social leanings of other nations cannot have bearing on making decisions of global competitions because it creates too many gray areas. We have relationships (economic, social, military,etc) with countries that have all kinds of cultures and traditions that many in our country would consider anywhere from questionable to unconscionable. Supporting (or in this case, not vehemently opposing – and theres a difference) one of these nations’ right to host an event based on our own values opens a pandora’s box of questions that only feeds hate. Here’s a question… if Sunil Gulati was, indeed, inclined to exclude USSF and the USMNT from a competition because of the social leanings of a host nation, what offense is an acceptable reason? Do we skip tournaments in traditionally racist nations but attend those in nations that trample women’s rights? Can we play in countries that use child labor but not in those that support euthanasia or export illegal drugs? Where do you draw the line as to what offense is so awful that we would reject playing in that country? Plus, are we that pius that we have the right to judge others in that manner?

      If we are going to start condemning other nations for their social inadequacies, we better take a long look in the mirror first because we have all of the same problems that they have and maybe more. We would also have to resign ourselves to playing home friendlies against only a handful of nations (and whose to say they would want to play us with all of our own inadequacies?).

      Reply

    • Posted by patrickhattrick on 2013/02/16 at 8:43 PM

      One very interesting scenario that Robbie’s future career would create would be how fans in England, and the world, would react. Although the racist chants have been, for the most part, limited to the continent in recent years, you have to imagine that the uniqueness of this hypothetical situation would create some akward television moments. This becomes more interesting because of the globalization of the Premier League (let’s say, just for the sake of argument, that Robbie was playing in the BPL). Jozy’s games were being watched by a relatively low number of people. Even the recent England game which was the subject of so much controversy was a fairly minor match (sorry for once again putting Jozy on the same level as Robbie, but you have to admit that at least in terms of controversy, they are equals). But in this day and age, with jersey sponsors like “Invest in Africa” and advertisements on the sidelines in Chinese and Arabic, how would the huge global audience react to Robbie and the subsequent (and possibly homophobic) treatment he would receive from the fans at the game?

      Reply

  9. Posted by john mosby on 2013/02/16 at 7:43 AM

    we have only ourselves to blame, if our teams fail!!!

    Reply

  10. Posted by dude on 2013/02/16 at 8:58 AM

    I too have been moved by the lack of gay bashing on the comment boards (Crow’s moral denouncement being the first I’ve seen). The soccer culture in America is such that a player’s differences are commonly viewed as something to celebrate, and I couldn’t be prouder to be one of them.

    That said, there is no way I want to know what Sepp Blatter thinks of this recent development. Something along the lines of “This is good for him, and good for football, that he should quit. The sport is sacred.” Honestly, don’t give that guy any doubt as to his bigotry.

    Reply

  11. Posted by surfndave on 2013/02/16 at 9:21 AM

    Absolute respect for Rogers and his courage to speak his mind.

    Reply

  12. Posted by JGD on 2013/02/16 at 11:03 AM

    Whether or not one believes homosexuality to be a sin is, frankly, irrelevant to this discussion. One can believe homosexuality to be immoral and still denounce the persecution of players simply on the basis of sexual orientation (or race, or nationality, or faith).

    I have nothing but the utmost respect for Robbie Rogers and applaud his courage. I look forward to the day when an athlete’s coming-out isn’t news-worthy. Equality for the LGBTTQ community is the civil rights issue of our time.

    Reply

    • Posted by crow on 2013/02/16 at 2:09 PM

      I agree that everyone has the right- or should have the right- to live the way they choose- pursue free will. I definitely agree that people shouldn’t be persecuted for their beliefs/lifestyle- I don’t believe if I have ever treated a gay person unfairly in my life and if I have I apologize. I know I have stood up against those being cruel towards gay individuals at different times in the past, even though I dont agree with the behavior. I’ve known and worked with several gay individuals, and I would say that they were some of the nicest people I’ve worked with. I didn’t go around telling them they were ‘wrong’. If they asked me my opinion, I would state it firmly but respectfully.

      I don’t expect people to agree with me. I know I have different beliefs or views on matters that others would consider ridiculous. I believe I should have the right to feel the way that I do without being viewed as a hateful human being. It hurts me deeply to be viewed that way when I think on the thousands of hours i’ve spent in my life volunteering, etc., and to be viewed as a “bully” especially due to my past experiences.

      Reply

      • Posted by Ufficio on 2013/02/16 at 7:52 PM

        Crow-

        You certainly have a right to your opinion. I’m glad Matt didn’t delete your original comment, as I’m not in favor of suppressing any sincerely held viewpoint. But you can’t expect to express whatever beliefs you want and not have people judge you for them. It just doesn’t work that way. And your first comment was really off the wall.

        When you start talking about how angry you are that homophobia was compared to racism, because racism is really bad and vile, whereas homosexuality is a “moral choice”… well, it’s hard to read that in any other way as “those gays just bring it upon themselves with their immoral behavior”. What is the point of introducing the homosexuality as choice canard to the argument otherwise? Certainly the effects of homophobia are every bit as real – and can be every bit as deadly – as those of racism.

        And then there’s comparison of Rogers to a serial adulterer thrown in for good measure – apparently based on nothing more than his statement that he’s gay. Sure you want to stand by your claim that you’ve “never treated a gay person unfairly”?

        Reply

        • Posted by crow on 2013/02/16 at 9:15 PM

          Yes, I do want to stand by claim that I never have treated a gay person unfairly. I literally was up most of the night last night thinking about this. I know my merits and faults and mistakes a whole lot more than you do or anyone else on this site.

          My first post was impulsive and poorly worded and I should have allowed myself more time to think before posting. I had just read the article on ESPN and one of the top LIKED comments in the section was someone telling someone who had a similar view to mine that they would “be better off dead” and “should kill themselves”. It wasn’t just one isolated instance- anyone who had any reasonable comment opposing homosexuality was decried as a “Nazi” or worse. That upset me very much. I wasn’t comparing homophobia to racism. I never once insinuated or said that homosexuals should be allowed to be treated unfairly or subject to hateful treatment, or at least I hope you believe me when I say that wasn’t my intent. It pains me that is the way my comments were taken because when I was younger I was verbally and emotionally abused for years in school for beliefs I had, threatened, and physically abused to a degree, and the school never did anything beyond making the one said individual offer a half-hearted apology. I nearly committed suicide and still struggle with emotional and mental problems to this day, and had my best friend in school who had similar beliefs actually commit suicide. So, I know firsthand what it is like to be persecuted for your beliefs or lifestyle and I do truly feel deep empathy for anyone who faces similar hateful treatment for whatever reason.

          Where we differ obviously is I believe that pursuing a homosexual lifestyle is a choice and a sin while most here do not. I do agree that individuals are born with strong homosexual tendencies (more so than others), but I believe that the individual can make a choice whether to act on those leanings or not. Just as some may be born with a strong sexual drive of another kind, or a disposition towards a violent temper, etc. I don’t expect you or others to agree with me on this point- it is just how I view things. I’ve known an individual who was only attracted to men and went his entire life without pursuing sexual relationships because he felt it was ‘wrong’ to do so. I’ve known others who had homosexual relationships decide that it wasn’t “right” and decided to end them. From what they said- it wasn’t an external pressure that caused them to make their decisions, it was just their conscience or reasoning of “right” and “wrong” I have no idea how hard or the struggle it must have been to make those decisions, but I think if one said that these individuals were denying their “identity” or something of that nature, that it would be disrespectful for the difficult decisions that they chose to make.

          The comparison to Tiger Woods was poor. But that whole point is being blown out of proportion. The point I was making is that I view homosexuality THE SAME as other sexual ‘sins’- adultery, fornication, etc. You may find any or that reasoning or the above reasoning absurd but that is what I choose to believe. I had decided not to pursue a sexual relationship until I was married, and that has been extremely difficult not only naturally but also because of the intense ridicule and pressure I received. I went through a period of a few years where I “gave in” to what others said I should do and behave, and thought my views of things were repressive. I now have regrets I will have the rest of my life due to decisions I made during that period. The point I am trying to make is that I am not trying to elevate myself about others in some way acting as if I’m better because of my beliefs, I’m trying to stick to what I truly feel to be ‘right’ because I am happier and more at peace when I do so- I have found through experience now. It is incredibly difficult to stick to those decisions as the media is constantly saying ‘do whatever feels good to you’. I am just trying to explain where I am coming from on the whole subject and my frustration that probably caused me to comment in the first place.

          I regret posting originally however very much as all it did was anger and hurt people and that wasn’t my intent and again I am being viewed as something I very much don’t want to be (a persecutor of others, etc). I’ve made stupid, emotional, and impulsive comments over the years over soccer games, etc on this site in the heat of the moment but nothing of course to this magnitude. I thought I had done better in tempering my comments over the last year or so- I can be a very impulsive and emotional person. I hope you can understand I literally could not sleep over this last night and have been thinking about it the entire day today. If members of the site would prefer I don’t comment on this topic or others going forward, I can understand.

          I love the USMNT. To great expense, I am trying to attend all of the home qualifiers this year, I am going to Azteca and am trying to attend the game in Costa Rica or Panama as well. I hope that if Robbie Rogers chooses to play soccer again he has a chance to be a part of the National Team eventually. I remember watching the 2008 Olympics and Robbie Rogers was one of the players I kept talking about as I was excited to have a truly dangerous player in a wing position. I honestly hope he plays soccer again.

          Reply

          • Posted by john mosby on 2013/02/17 at 12:35 AM

            [this author has been banned from the TSG forum]

            Reply

          • Posted by SamT on 2013/02/18 at 7:53 AM

            Crow, you’re a good man and a good commentator on this site. Just as you do regularly with your obvious USMNT fan-dom, you put your views out there on this one, too. And it’s clear from the above that you’re wrestling with the way your comments have been perceived. For that alone, I think you deserve the benefit of the doubt. We’re going to have to disagree on the topic of homosexuality, however, but I respect that you’re not trying to shove your views in others’ faces as we often see with this topic.

            Reply

    • “Whether or not one believes homosexuality to be a sin is, frankly, irrelevant to this discussion. One can believe homosexuality to be immoral and still denounce the persecution of players simply on the basis of sexual orientation (or race, or nationality, or faith).”

      Yep. JGD hits the nail on the head here (and makes his point far more succinctly than I did).

      Reply

  13. Posted by Tom Patton on 2013/02/16 at 1:36 PM

    I am very happy with the outpouring of support for him. I wish he would go on playing because now he would not have this albatross on his back. I will always wonder if this pressure and anxiety prevented Rogers from reaching his full potential.

    Reply

  14. Posted by KickinNames... on 2013/02/17 at 9:53 AM

    Meanwhile, in FA CUP football action…..

    I appreciate all the white knightage going on here but methinks that Crow doesn’t represent the views of most footie fans here. Having been reading Crow’s posts for a few years here he tends to mirror those ESPN commenters that he abhors more than he’d like. Flame first and apologize later seems to be the norm.
    I believe most like me just shrug and wonder why we’re spending so much time on something that is a foregone conclusion here in the states at least. Yes there are religously preoccupied people that need to justify their belief systems and the somewhat illogical thought processes that must accompany them but to spend the massive amount of electrons defending someones right to be gay just isn’t very profitable IMO. And we’re creating a bit of a straw man in the “what if he has to hear nasty chants about his lifestyle” angst IMO. Yes there’s racism. Yes there’s a-holes that will say things. There’s vile chants about players mums, wives, GF’s, children, deceased relatives, diseases etc. As long as it doesn’t prevent him from plying his trade I don’t see the big deal.

    Matt- as an objective observer here, I appreciate your passion for the topic but the tone and tenor of your responses seem to bring into dispute the mission statement of TSG which is a forum for intelligent discussion of football related issues. Ive reread Crow’s posts and apart from having opinions that are out of the mainstream, I think he deserves a hearing and he raises an interesting point…having that opinion should not DQ you from the discussion…IMO

    so now…back to FA cup action…

    Reply

    • Posted by crow on 2013/02/17 at 12:33 PM

      Spurs weren’t playing this weekend so nothing was really going except Everton messing around and Arsenal finally falling short of another trophy.

      Sorry, I wasn’t aware my posts were “flaming” since that 2011 Argentina game where I got into a personal argument with someone. I thought they had been improved but evidently not. I will definitely take alot more discretion if i post going forward, if at all.

      Reply

      • Posted by Soccernst on 2013/02/17 at 4:52 PM

        I’ve observed you responding to heavy criticism with humility and honesty. I won’t begrudge a man speaking his mind, whether that’s Robbie Rogers or you. Please do stick around… otherwise it’s like making announcement and then retiring. Play on, both of you!

        Reply

  15. Since I do “have the right to and should call him out on it”, I’m frankly appalled by your hypocrisy.

    First of all not, although not an example of your hypocrisy, I have yet to hear of any study that can conclusively determine that anyone is born gay (although please share the link if you have.) That said it seems a little ridiculous to me, that somebody would choose to be gay, so for that reason I reject the argument that it is a choice. In my opinion (and yes it’s my opinion until otherwise proven or disproven), it’s much more a matter of circumstance and surroundings at especially a young age. Keep in mind that at a young age you learn and absorb everything. This is the time period you learn to communicate, and interact with others. Before you go and just crucify me for a simple observation that I’ve made, that behaviour and any attraction whatsoever is learned, at this point there’s just as much evidence to back up my theory than any other dead end we’ve spent countless hours and millions of dollars on.

    As for everything else, Crow doesn’t choose the way he thinks any more or less than Rogers chooses his sexual preference. When you say that Crow can and should change the views I think that’s absurd, not because of some outdated bigotry belief, but because in telling him to do so, you’re in turn telling people like Rogers that they should change too. Maybe we should all just live a lie. Maybe we would all be happier if we pretend to be what others want us to be. Rogers wasn’t. Why should Crow?

    There is a difference between Crow stating his beliefs and some random bigot persecuting homosexuals. For example, I don’t like rap music and I don’t like country. Suppose I thought that my reason for not liking either was that I considered the lyrics to generally be immoral. Now suppose I run into someone who does like rap music, who does like country. Would I a) persecute them and try to change them to hold the same morals as me. b) let them enjoy whatever music they like and uphold whatever morals they may have? I care exactly 0% about what music someone else listens to. I care about what music I listen to.

    The second someone says something to discourage another from voicing his/her opposing opinion, even beginning to persecute that person for their opinion, as opposed to their actions, that also means in extension “you’re either with us or against us.” Although this world seems to have operated on absolutes such as this for the majority of its history, the majority of that history has operated under social injustices galore.

    By the way, I read a good TIMES magazine article a while back about a study that concluded that most people in the US still have a racist sentiment buried somewhere deep within. However it was also concluded that even the people who were found to have a racist sentiment understood that it wasn’t socially or political acceptable, and therefore never acted it out, even portraying the opposite. I think that to a certain extent that applies here. Is society more concerned with changing somebody’s personal beliefs, or changing the effects of these beliefs. It may be a pick your battle, chicken and the egg argument.

    Reply

    • Posted by john mosby on 2013/02/18 at 6:21 AM

      [this author has been banned from the TSG forum]

      Reply

      • Posted by KickinNames... on 2013/02/18 at 8:43 AM

        So in summary we can concude….John Mosby=stoner Kid Rock fan….

        Hopefuly Matt posts an in-depth analysis of applied footie-metrics proving that Champions League title contention is purely the result of semi-completed passing % divided by number of goals scored in the opponents half. That will get us back on track.

        Reply

    • Posted by t on 2013/02/18 at 8:56 AM

      I believe we are all proud & supportive of Mr. Rogers -no pun intended in any way, shape or form, for his courage and honesty about his sexuality.
      NOW……… may we please return the conversation to the subject of the U.S. national team and whether we can field 11 players who have the talent, passion and cohesion to:
      A; get through CONCACAF qualifying
      B: actually make it to the round of 16 if indeed they get that far

      I would like to let Mr. Rogers get on with is life and turn our eye back to the fact whether Klinnsmann or the clay he is trying to mold is defective because since this team played Italy even up in Italy some time back I have seen nothing that inspires me to believe we are improving save the 5 -1 shellacking of a clearly uninspired Scotland squad in Jacksonville that I witnessed in person in Jacksonville.

      Is it a case that you have to be broken down to be built back up or are we just broken?
      Let us speak us agree there are very few homophobs who follow football in this country,ignore those who are, and focus on football because something is clearly not working on the men’s senior national team level.
      The question is is it the horses of the driver of carriage?

      Reply

    • By the way this was meant as a reply above to “th3bogart”. When I tried to post it, my connection kind of gave out and it almost didn’t go through. Apparently when the page reloaded (and my comment was luckily still there) it was just a comment and not a reply.

      Reply

  16. Posted by Crow on 2013/02/18 at 10:35 AM

    I was at the supermarket yesterday and noticed the cashier had two Arsenal wristbands on so I started up a conversation with him.

    He seemed happy to talk about soccer despite Arsenal’s loss, maybe just for the fact that he usually doesnt have soccer conversations at work- I don’t know. He loves Arsenal you can tell- he said he thinks they do things the ‘right way’- developing youth, their proactive style, etc. He even said that he loves Wenger and doesnt want him fired but he just wants to win some kind of trophy so badly and doesnt see it happening anytime soon. He’s terrified ahead of the Bayern CL fixture.

    I think I’ve used this analogy before and it might not be the best but this love/hate relationship with a coach/manager reminded me so much of many Eagles’ fans view of Andy Reid over the years. He was a quality coach but you just had the feeling after awhile that everyone had caught up to his ideas and that he was too stubborn for his own good, and he wasn’t going to win anything of significance in the near future.

    I’m biased because even before Dempsey arrived at White Hart Lane, I pulled for Spurs above the other bigger London teams, so I enjoy watching Arsenal lose to a degree. I don’t know if Arsenal’s problem is Wenger or just that they don’t have the money or quality to compete with the ‘elite’ anymore.

    Anyway, it was just nice talking about soccer in a supermarket. I never had that opportunity in Pennsylvania.

    Reply

    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2013/02/19 at 6:33 PM

      Pennsylvania, you say? Pity he would rather support a team 3000 miles away rather than Philadelphia Union.

      Reply

      • Posted by Crow on 2013/02/19 at 6:50 PM

        No, this happened in a supermarket Bay Area, California. I’m pretty sure the gentleman is from West Africa originally from my brief conversation with him.

        In my travels in Africa it always seems that Chelsea and Arsenal are the favored clubs- I guess of course because many players from different African nations have played for those teams.

        Reply

  17. [...] Op-Ed: E Pluribus Unum – from The Shin Guardian: Rogers eloquently and panoptically addresses the issue from the perspective of his own story…. [...]

    Reply

  18. Posted by Union on 2013/02/18 at 7:54 PM

    In other news. The U-20’s look absolutely horrible. Can we have a post about them so I can once again rant about US soccer and how the remains MLS insufferable when it comes to developing young players?

    Reply

    • Posted by Union on 2013/02/18 at 7:54 PM

      Sorry. “how the MLS remains insufferable…” was the quote.

      Reply

      • Posted by KickinNames... on 2013/02/18 at 9:24 PM

        Dude I have never been so happy to hear about U20 US soccer and I really don’t give a shit about it. So,,,tell me more,….

        Reply

    • Posted by Tom Patton on 2013/02/19 at 7:20 PM

      You are dead right. And all the guys from here – Particularly Harkes and Tony M., since they have the radio pulpit,just gloss over it. 2-1 over Haiti on neutral ground is not a victory; it is a confirmation of how far behind the rest of the world we actually are on all levels.
      When is someone in a position of power just admit that we are light years away from where we think we ought to be and MLS, although great for the sport and necessary for the fans here, is not going to be the development tool to get us where we want to go.
      Face it, We have not really improved except in much larger mediocre depth pool since 2002.
      And please- do not tell me about Italy or Mexico because they were friendlies. We have won one real match in 11 years and that was beating Spain in the Confederations Cup.

      Hanging on by the skin of your teeth only to lose to Honduras is embarrassing for any “big footballing nation.” Regardless of the heat, pitch and travel.

      Funny isn’t it: other countries in our region seem to be benefiting from the MLS while we stay stuck in mediocre.

      We just are not getting better at any level for a sustainable period.

      Key word: sustainable

      If you have hard evidence to the contrary please present it a rational fashion.

      Reply

      • Posted by KickinNames... on 2013/02/20 at 6:58 AM

        TP I think you are dead on. I’ve often expressed my complete inability to spend time watching MLS due to just that fact. It’s generally NCAA level tactics with the ball up in the air for no apparent reason for far too much of the play and the lack of cohesive ball movement and organization is proving to be detrimental to the development of our player pool. This is why the ones who show ANY capacity to excel are taken overseas as soon as possible. Yes there are exceptions but you make a great point that all we’ve done is build a much much larger pool of mediocrity and its evidenced in both our play and the team selection that must include 4 or 5 German nationals that are only here because of Klinsi.
        TSG has done a few player pool comparisons over the years and it’s fairly obvious that the overalll QUALITY of players has dropped badly in the last 10 yrs. Go back to that 2002 WC team and tell me who would be displaced by anyone from this pool beside Demps.
        Even Bradley who I like alot would not likely have moved Reyna or TSG’s man crush St John of O’Brien off the depth chart.

        It’s pretty sobering if we let ourselves be honest and the only root cause you can point to is the inadequacy of MLS’ product as a player develpment pool.

        Reply

        • Posted by john mosby on 2013/02/20 at 8:49 AM

          [this author has been banned from the TSG forum]

          Reply

          • Posted by KickinNames... on 2013/02/20 at 7:32 PM

            Not even close to what?….Johnson, Chandler, etc, almost1/3 of starting lineup made up of German nats not developed here. Just follow the bouncing logic…

            Reply

            • Posted by john mosby on 2013/02/20 at 11:18 PM

              [this author has been banned from the TSG forum]

            • Posted by KickinNames... on 2013/02/21 at 10:27 AM

              Apparently context is lost on you.
              My reply was to TomP’s post above. I think if you make an objective analysis most would agree that the quality of the USMNT talent pool has trended toward mediocrity over the last 10 yrs. Wouldn’t you agree that MLS is the primary development engine of USMNT? Let me walk you down the logic path to my next point that it is becoming apparent that MLS’ style of play has influenced the player pools ability to pass, defend and retain possession and score the ball at an international level. The German nats comment reinforces the fact that our development league isn’t developing the best players to compete for our national team. I’ve traveled and followed the MNT since 1994 and in looking at this pool of players I don’t see how they could displace most if not all of the players from the 2002 WC squad as an example.
              You’re welcome to enjoy and root for your local MLS team. I go to a few Union games a season and mostly leave disappointed at the quality of play that I see.
              That’s an opinion just like yours and I sincerely hope that you enjoy and root for your respective team and that MLS improves its product.
              And easy on the Buddy stuff huh? It’s just comments and opinions.

            • Posted by Tom Patton on 2013/02/21 at 11:17 AM

              You have every right to feel that way Kickennames. I go to 2 or 3 Orlando games a year, in a supposedly inferior league to MLS, and do watch the occasional MLS on T.V.
              Frankly I can not tell the difference. The movement off the ball is slow and sometimes non existent. The skill of long passing and accuracy leaves much to be desired and most goals come off set pieces or poor clearance in the box.
              I go to Iceland on business about 4 to 5 times a year. My best friends son just made the senior squad of the best club there at 16 and plays withdrawn striker. He has a better left foot and better ball skills then 90% of the MLS and this is no exaggeration. And you know what is really unique? He takes defenders on and creates openings in the box for his teammates or occasionally himself. Granted the level of competition varies but he always thinking about creating scoring opportunities. He has that hunger and self belief and is not punished for it when it occasionally goes sideways. He is not a robot. I imagine he will be playing in the the lower divisions of England within 2 years.
              I look for kids like him at the U20 level, yes I watched the Haiti match, and I just don’t see it.
              Our program must be to blame because you can not tell me a country of 300 million can not produce a better product, that is better, more skilled, more confident players even if,and I am really sick of hearing this, we do not get the creme of the crop of the athletes out there.
              I am proud that MLS is financially secure and growing off the field 18 years on. I am just miffed that it has not produced a better product on the field. The MLS is only so slightly better then the the USL on the pitch and that in and of itself defies belief.
              Why???? What are we doing wrong? Why do we produce such mediocrity that we are desperate for Donovan to return to a game that clearly he has his doubts about just to feel a wee bit more secure that we will get out of the Hex 11 years after reaching the quarterfinals of 2002 World Cup?
              Why are other nations in our region using MLS to their benefit when we seem to derive very little from it? Why do 10 of our best 11 play in Europe or Mexico?
              What is wrong and why do we just seem to produce an ever increasing pool of mediocre players that you can not depend on to raise their level of play except vs. European squads or occasionally Mexico?
              Why do we have to continue to march out the likes of Benny F. or Sacha K. when both have clearly demonstrated they have neither the consistency nor the feel for big matches?
              It is,in 2 words, depressing and confounding.
              Kickennames- do not get bullied by the apologist or the blind loyalist.

  19. Posted by john mosby on 2013/02/21 at 2:25 PM

    [this author has been banned from the TSG forum]

    Reply

    • Posted by Tom Patton on 2013/02/21 at 4:54 PM

      “it is odd you bring up feilhaber and kljestan, because these are two technically gifted players that you might think USA would be looking to produce more of. maybe they dont have the heart, or the desire, or the attitude, i dont know, but these are gifted players and sacha does start for a pretty solid team. im at a loss with your concepts.”

      Your above quote speaks for itself. If they are as technically gifted as we can come up with then maybe we should go back to booming it in the box and praying. Whatever “technical gifts” you see these 2 players having is in momentary flashes that come every 10 to 15 matches or so. And Feilhaber is a horrible player even in the MLS!! He indeed needs to spend long afternoons on the couch having his head examined because he does have some talent in there somewhere. But when you crap out of the Danish league TWICE something is seriously wrong with your mental parts.
      Kljestan, God love him, at least tries but when the pressure meter goes up his “game” falls apart. You do not see anyone clamoring to sign him out of the Juniper League which produces some great young individuals but generally lousy football clubs overall. Just look how they perform in the Champions and Europa League. Pretty hard to argue with results.

      That is not skill- that is the occasional dumb luck. They could not start for any of the top 50 national teams in the world. What you are watching and what I am watching are 2 entirely different things. Why can’t we be honest and accept WE ARE NOT IMPROVING and over time that really means you are going backward.

      Reply

      • Posted by KickinNames... on 2013/02/22 at 7:12 AM

        Its good old D Kranky masking as John Mosby. The king of circular logic. How sad is your life that you have to change screen names frequently just to spout nonsensical arguments.
        Enjoy the quiet Krank.

        Reply

  20. Posted by dikranovich on 2013/02/22 at 7:29 AM

    [this author is still banned from the TSG forum]

    Reply

  21. Posted by dikranovich on 2013/02/22 at 7:33 AM

    [this author is still banned from the TSG forum]

    * For the new folks, this forum is good because of the well-thought out commentary and because everyone seeks to understand each commenter rather than personally chastise them at any level.

    Reply

    • Posted by KickinNames... on 2013/02/22 at 7:51 AM

      Dude you are something else…until we read about you in the newspapers somewhere.
      Peace to you and have a good day…

      Reply

      • Posted by Tom Patton on 2013/02/22 at 9:03 AM

        KickenNames and/or Dikranovich – could you please explain what is going on here D Kranky/John Mosby please? I am relativly new here.

        Thank you,

        Tom Patton

        Reply

        • Posted by KickinNames... on 2013/02/22 at 10:43 AM

          D Kranky periodically gets put in time out by the TSG Powers that Be for just the same nonsensical argumentativeness that he displayed in his posts above which eventually turns personal. So John Mosby is his trojan horse to get back in here and make the same silly arguments. His kryptonite is that he’s a DC United fan which is how I recognized him behind his mask.

          He likes long walks on the beach, Michael Bradley and collects Sacha K posters that he displays on his bedroom ceiling.

          Consider yourself informed.

          Reply

          • Posted by Tom Patton on 2013/02/22 at 11:40 AM

            Thank you…now I understand his love and devotion to the MLS and it’s player development “success”

            Thanks again KickenNames

            Reply

      • Posted by Tom Patton on 2013/02/22 at 11:37 AM

        By the way………………… Did any of you see the article on ESPN Soccernet about Adu?

        Here is the link:

        http://espnfc.com/blog/_/name/soccerusa/id/1442?cc=5901

        I think the kid needs a good shrink more then another club.

        Reply

  22. Posted by Faith on 2013/02/25 at 1:45 PM

    I skipped the comments because I was starting to hate humanity, but I wanted to throw some positive feedback in there with the negativity. This is a great piece, and you’re totally right — it’s inspiring to be a fan, to have such positive & mature players representing our country, and to see so much great support for them from the rest of the community. I hope the US players & fans continue to set an example of progress & acceptance in the future.

    Reply

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