Mission Accomplished!

June 23, 2010 - Pretoria, South Africa - epa02217763 US national soccer team players have a team huddle before the FIFA World Cup 2010 group C preliminary round match between USA and Algeria at the Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria, South Africa, 23 June 2010.

Today the US progressed, and not just to the next round of 16 in this World Cup. They progressed in the ranks of world football. Their status, their pedigree was elevated. How so? They did something that they as a nation have never done before. Something that Brazil, Argentina, Germany do in every World Cup. They set a goal, a plan, a mission, and they acheived it.

Going into this World Cup this US team felt that anything less than the round of 16 would be a failure. Now in comparison to the other giants of world football, advancement to the next round is a given, and going into a World Cup many aim for the semi-finals at least. But not for the US; they have never entered into this tournament and fulfilled their expectations. Round of 16 appearances in 1994 and 2002 were surprises, shocks. They caught the footballing world by surprise. They entered into World Cup 2006 with high expectations and failed miserably.

So here we sit in 2010, a known entity in the football world, expectations high, and now fulfilled. Now this doesn’t mean that we take our seat along the side of the world’s elite, not only do they acheive their footballing goals, but they do it tournament after tournament, and with class. In the big picture the round of 16 may be a small acheivement but it allows us to reach the point were we can look at the World Cup and say, “This is were we want to go in the tournament”and know that we can do it. We can look and say,”This is the result we need,” and know that we can attain it. It may take time for the class to arrive. Quaterfinals, semifinals, or even finals may come this year or in 20 years, but when the US mens team go to sleep tonight, they can all smile and think, mission accomplished. And when they wake up tomorrow, they can start on their next mission, Ghana.

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