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US Soccer’s Seven Deadly Sins: Pride

The Sin: Pride is often called the “ultimate sin” because it leads to so many of the other sins. According to Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goeth before destruction”. It’s true, too. I define “pride” as the unwillingness to view one’s own abilities objectively, or – to put it bluntly – insincere self-respect. Pride is akin to vanity, and it is the root of almost every other major sin. Think about it: this sin wars against a humble spirit, which Jesus says we need to hump it up to heaven (Matthew 5:5). We must see ourselves as the sinners we are, instead of making false claims of righteousness.

The Sinners: When it comes to prideful players on the US Nats, the list is almost too long to set out here. Yes, it is important to be confident, yet it is even more important not to be overconfident, which I fear many Yanks may be. Take Landon, who exudes a smarmy self-righteousness everywhere he goes. Even worse is Deuce, Clint Dempsey, who apparently thinks his role on an EPL team makes him “the man” when it comes to US squad. Instead of reasonably recognizing their faults, these two think they are all-world. I think they could use some humility. Who can teach them?

The Saint: How about a ghost from the past, Cobi Jones, and a possible fixture on the team in the future, Stu Holden. Jones is an impeccable professional, and he has never been called out for having a big head (which is ironic considering the size of his bedreaded dome). He could instruct LD and Deuce as to how they should respect their opponents and also as to how they can push themselves to be better. As for Holden, he seems to have humility beyond his years, never rushing to criticize the coaching staff despite the fact he has proven he could be in the Starting 11. 

The Sermon: The US Nats did very well during the Confederations Cup, and their success has spilled over into WC Qualifying, but they need to remain humble & stifle their hubris. Some players love themselves so much, they refuse to acknowledge the contributions of their mates. Moreover, some players even seem to want their teammates to fail so they can get a chance to shine. They need to remember that soccer is about putting the team first.

After all, Satan himself fell from heaven for thinking himself too good for God’s team. In fact, he even wanted to compete with God. Yet, he was just another one of God’s foolish children, so he was ousted from his dad’s digs. I hope nothing like that occurs between Bradley the Elder and his spawn Bradley the Younger prior to South Africa in 2010. We need that familial bond to be as strong as possible. Unlike Satan, the US won’t be competing with one God. Hell no… 

If we play Brazil, we will be taking on 11 of them. I hope we win, but winning without humility is still losing, so I hope that no matter what we are humble. I can handle being a noble loser. But, I just can’t swallow a prideful, poor winner.  

I pride myself on that.