Devastated to be a soccer fan

Jack Rintoul, entertainment editor

It was not until the other night that I said a word I don’t often use to describe soccer. It was a word I said typically when it looked as if all hope was lost; a word I used to describe disasters and mistakes that could not be undone.

A word that, when used in the context of sports seems over dramatic. It gives the impression that I am going too far on the subject. That I care too much about soccer. I was confident that after Tuesday, I would not have to think about using the word to describe soccer for another couple years.

However on that fateful Tuesday in Couva, Trinidad & Tobago, the USMNT lost 2-1 to Trinidad & Tobago and failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. And the only word that came to mind was devastation.

Devastation is a serious word. A grievous word. It means, “severe and overwhelming shock or grief.” And it is not to be used lightly. Most people don’t even use the word unless they mean it sarcastically or metaphorically. It is easy to not think much of it. But tonight, for U.S. soccer fans, the word is used wholeheartedly.

And believe me, it is hard to be devastated about U.S. soccer. When I say hard, I mean damn near impossible. In U.S. soccer standards, losing 1-0 to a team like Columbia in the Copa America third place game is seen as an okay performance. Losing for the U.S. can be seen as positive. That’s how difficult it is to undermine U.S. soccer standards.

However, the loss Tuesday is one that will go down in history as straight up embarrassing performance. A 2-seed losing to a 15-seed performance. A Warriors blow a 3-1 lead performance. A hasn’t-happened-since-1986 type of performance.

I am devastated for many reasons. I ache for Christian Pulisic who scored 12 of the U.S.’s 17 goals during the qualification process. I feel for players, like Clint Dempsey, 34, who are missing out on what would’ve been their last World Cup. I am hurt for new U.S. soccer fans who do not get to experience the excitement these games bring.

What I’ve discovered through Twitter and various articles online is that it is something that no one really expected. All of the sudden, something that felt as if it was a given, becomes an alternate reality that leaves supporters asking, “What happened?”

I attempted to turn to other countries that may also have been shocked to not qualify. However, out of all the upsets on Tuesday like Ireland beating Wales, it was the U.S. who took the cake. I looked for something else to blame or anything to take my mind of this devastation, but I couldn’t.

And now fans must wait a daunting five years to get a glimpse of glory in the 2022 World Cup. Five years of embarrassment over this loss. Five years of waiting for the U.S. to assert its dominance in the world of soccer. Five years of devastation.