USA knocked out by Ghana
Asamoah Gyan of Ghana celebrates at the final whistle with Kevin Prince Boateng and Kwadwo Asamoah. Photo Credit ISIPhotos
Who is the real underdog? There isn’t a contest. America played hold-your-breath, do or die soccer for 15 days and was eliminated by Ghana, a county where street soccer is a passion that can be seen everywhere.
According to Forbes, this West African nation is a country that shouldn't be poor, but it is – ranking 154th out of 184 countries tracked by the IMF (International Monetary Fund is the international organization that oversees the global financial system and ranks countries).
America’s missed opportunity is Ghana’s royal prize.
A more significant issue is how can the U.S. be knocked out of the World Cup twice by Ghana? Four years ago, America lost to Ghana at the 2006 World Cup. Carlos Bocanegra, Landon Donovan, Steve Cherundolo and Clint Dempsey were all on the U.S. team four years ago when the U.S. team lost. How does history repeat itself in the soccer realm? How were the new fans unaware America was facing the country that had eliminated them in the last World Cup? All across the globe, U.S. soccer fans were watching soccer on TV or plugged in to their technologically advanced electronics – only to have the soccer rollercoaster end in exhausting overtime.
The Ghanaians knocked the U.S. out of the World Cup twice in a row. Landon Donovan said “It was disappointing” and that “it was a missed opportunity” but as Americans embrace soccer with new fever, maybe we should pause to look at how the country who beat us practices soccer in the street, without the help of endlessly organized youth programs.
Ghana has only been an independent country form the United Kingdom since 1957 and is the second largest producer of cocoa in the world. Now, compare America. While this 92,098 square mile country lacks the endless iPhones of America, it has more soccer balls – proportionately -- at the feet of its young players.
While the American run on soccer was disappointing, it is far from over. Tim Howard, Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle have all set a great example of hard work, commitment and great passion for soccer. Now, the future of American soccer must rise up and say, I will forgo the endless hours of being a coach potato and grab that soccer ball and play ball. It is time.