The Host: Break out your pinatas everyone, because today is my (stream of consciousness style) surprise birthday party for the United States Soccer Federation. Happy 97th birthday, USSF! If I may borrow from an old advertising campaign,”you have come a long way baby.” On April 5, 1913, you were born. Your founding fathers named you the “United States of America Foot Ball Association”. Almost 100 years later, we are a nation who can boast that you have given us some of the greatest women’s teams in world history. Our girls have been great, there’s no debate.
And, you’ve given us several capable men’s squads who…
The Toast: Well, what can I say? I love the MNT (perhaps even “in love” with MNT), but it’s tough to toast our men sometimes. Why? Because they have (sometimes) looked like boys on the biggest stages. Yes, USSF, I know they now looked poised to make a strong run in South Africa in 2010. As an American who loves soccer, I can tell you with certainty that I appreciate your efforts. You are the official governing entity when it comes to all things soccer in America and the MSM in the US is not exactly what one would call “soccer-friendly” (more like “soccer-phobic”).
But you always battle to keep soccer relevant, so today I toast you on your birthday!
The Roast: But I must roast you as well my friend. Let’s see. Here’s one. How can you keep soccer on the tips of Yanks’ tongues when you change your own name more frequently than Mr. Sean Combs! Rimshot? No? Seriously USSF, just pick a freakin’ name already! I referenced your extremely lengthy original name above, but you also went by the title “United States Football Association” (that’s right, even we called it football before we called it soccer). Now you seem to like to go by US Soccer instead of USSF? Please, just go ahead and make up your mind!
Seriously, has soccer been so hated in America that it has been routinely forced to join the witness protection program a la My Blue Heaven. I think we never should have sloughed off our original moniker. Getting rid of your roots is like hiring Rick Moranis to protect a government witness with ties to the mob. In case you don’t remember that film accurately (and I am sure Steve Martin can’t either), I am (laboriously) saying that you – our almost century old birthday boy and girl (Pat’s Nats?) – should not break with tradition. You should embrace your prolific past.
Yet, even as I spew these words forth I can recognize that others may rightly counter my criticisms. They would say that a new name and clean start might do you good, USSF, er, US Soccer. Then, they may further support that argument by noting that I am reputed to be a compulsive charlatan and a man generally not to be trusted. And – after considering their claims – I would likely state that I believe they are correct. After all, I am not Nostradamus, and I did steal the panini maker that Gulati got you for your bday. Maybe it is time for a clean start, a “break from our past”.
On the Men’s side, we have not exactly been lighting it up on the world stage, but some recent results due give us glimpses of potential for future glory. On the Women’s side, we are as dominant as ever, and our success is a bold testament to our nation’s guarantee of equal justice for men and women in America. On the youth side, we have 4,000,000 potential superstars sliding on shin guards and taking the pitch with tenacity.Yes, some of them are not future Donovans or Wambachs, but they will be our future leaders in several different civic and social arenas.
The skills they intangibly learn by playing soccer (leadership, teamwork, dedication, etc.) will benefit them way beyond the pitch. Their accomplishments though will be aided by your leadership, USSF, so I hope you are ready for the challenge. You need to be sharp, OK? Hey, are you dozing off? Come on! You aren’t getting senile in your old age, are you USSF? Oh, don’t get offended. Come on bud, you know I was just kidding. No, we are not going to put you in a home. Come on, it’s your birthday, can we just try to enjoy it? Three more years and you are in Willard Scott territory!
USSF, you have been roasted. Poorly. Yes, stream of consciousness was probably a bad idea for this post. You are an organization that has patiently matured, and this post was pushed out at 1,000 mph. The only thing impressive about it is its length. But, the same is not true for you, USSF. Your almost hundred year history is filled with a bountiful number of trophies, but I believe your future will bear even more delicious fruit. Happy birthday USSF! And, if I may, when you blow out that candle in a second, would you be sure to make just one wish for me and the rest of the Yanks?
Yes, ask for just one World Cup for the MNT before you turn 100. Thanks.
Oh, yeah, and a third World Cup for the WNT too!
Um, wait, and also wish that Moranis is blessed with the ability to play like Messi!
We could use him (and he could use the work).