US National Team
The new Colorado Rapids jerseys created quite a buzz around the soccer community last week. But we were the only ones to unveil new looks - a bunch of MLS teams also presented new jerseys as part of Major League Soccer's first Jersey Week. And it didn't stop there.
On Friday, the US Soccer Federation, which turns 100 years old in 2013, unveiled its new centennial kits for both men and women's national teams. Fans in Colorado will get to see first these in person when the men come here for the March 22 World Cup Qualifier against Costa Rica.
Known originally as the United States of America Foot Ball Association, the organization was officially formed on April 5, 1913. Three years later, the team played its first game against Sweden in Stockholm, winning 3-2, and the new kit is inspired by the uniform worn by those pioneers 100 years ago.
A standout feature of the new kit is the crest. The enlarged crest pays homage to the original kit, and is interwoven to maximize the top’s luxurious feel. The crest's 13 stars and 13 stripes replicate the motif of the 1913 kit and symbolize the first American flag of the original 13 colonies.
Well, Colorado fans, if you didn't realize it then, you know now that when you attended the U.S. Women's National Team match at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in September, you were in the presence of greatness.
On Monday, FIFA announced that former USWNT coach Pia Sundhage was named the FIFA Women's Coach of the Year, and USWNT forward Abby Wambach became the first U.S. women since 2002 to be named Best Female Soccer player in the world (pictured above celebrating her goal at DSGP in a 6-2 win over Australia). That capped off a tremondous year for the U.S. ladies, who had won the 2012 Olympic gold medal.
Fans of the women's 2012 know already knew that Pia was known to break out in song, as she did before her last game as coach on that night in Colorado. So it was fitting that she thanked her staff, and sang one last time to her players when she accepted the award:
Pia Sundhage coached for the U.S. WNT to two Olympic gold medals and a second-place finish at the World Cup in her five years at the helm. However, on Wednesday night at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, Pia coached her last game for the U.S. She will return to her native Sweden to head that Women's team starting in December.
Players on the team have shared their sadness in losing their coach, but also excitement and gratitude for Pia's contributions.
In the locker room hall way prior to the game, Colorado Rapids President Tim Hinchey gave Pia a crystal vase as a gift on behalf of the club. The attached card read as follows:
For the last five years, the United States Women’s National Team that you coached has impressed and inspired us with their skill, tenacity, style of play, and dedication. It has been a joy to be a fan of your teams, and everyone here at the Colorado Rapids and Dick’s Sporting Goods Park is honored to be a part of your final match at the helm of the USA Women. Thank you for all your hard work, and we wish you the very best of luck!
President, Colorado Rapids
On behalf of the Colorado Rapids and Dick’s Sporting Goods Park
It's hard to believe that it's been 10 years since the U.S. Men's National Team made that incredible run all the way to the Quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup.
On June 5, 2002, eight of us from the front office met at one's apartment in the middle of the night and watched our own Pablo Mastroeni start in the USMNT's 3-2 upset of a heavily favored Portugal side. Later games would fill up large establishments all over the country, including a huge showing at our viewing party in the Club Level of INVESCO Field at Mile High.
Prior to the 2010 World Cup, I sat down with Pablo and a few other former Rapids players to talk about their World Cup experiences. Watch below as Pablo talks about how he made the U.S. team and his memories of the 2002 World Cup. (Click here to watch on Youtube).
On Monday U.S. Soccer unveiled the new jerseys for both the men's and women's national teams. What do you think - do you like that it seems that a new design comes out regularly, or would you prefer U.S. Soccer tries to establish some kind of consistancy, like Brazil, Argentina, England, Italy, etc. have? CLICK HERE for more images.
I stared in disbelief at my TV last night at the end of the USA's 3-3 tie with El Salvador in the CONCACAF U-20 Championships. The Central American's had just eliminated the Americans from the Olympic Qualifying tournament by scoring a goal after four minutes of stoppage time, claiming the tie-breaker and advancing to the semifinals over the hosts.
The disbelief was not so much because El Salvador advanced, after all they created the opportunities and showed to be a good team, or that the U.S. was eliminated, since their problems began when they lost to Canada in the second game. But it was so because it was a reminder of how sports can have two sides: joy for one, and pain for another.
Here's MLSsoccer.com's RECAP