Friday, April 5, 2013

Sunil Gulati, Carli Lloyd and Alexi Lalas between fixtures to shed light on an extraordinary soccer century

One hundred years ago today, the United States a group of men gathered around New York Astor House Hotel to codify what would become the United States of America Foot Ball Association. The newly formed body would later become the American Football Association and finally, in 1974, the U.S. Soccer Federation.

The initial meeting, called by Thomas W Cahill, secretary of the American Amateur Football Association, and delegates from countries as far away as Utah, which was held this week in New York as that "100 anniversary of American football."


The meeting marked the birth of football in the United States, of course - despite convinced (not without tacit encouragement from time to time, I must say) that sport is a recent import into the country, the idea that there is even a century old seems extraordinary. Sometimes in football goes well beyond 1913. As soccer historian Tom McCabe said the American Foot Ball Association was founded in 1884, the National Football League Association was founded in 1895, and various ad hoc teams, especially in the universities of the northeast, playing their own of football long before that. Princeton, for example, played a match against Princeton Theological Seminary for about a decade since the mid-1860s - although, like most of those games at the time, was a hybrid of what is today the rugby and football.

Just like England Football Association celebrates her birthday with a meeting in 1863, the tavern Freemasonry Long Acre London, however, the United States Football commemorates the centenary of the first serious attempt to implement a national organization and code

If before 1913 incarnations of the sport are a bit lost in the story, which is entirely consistent with American history since football, which is a continuous history of unsuccessful attempts in huge country, national and regional leagues up and down in conjunction with the industrial powers, sparks isolated on the international scene - the famous Joe Gaetjens goal "against England in the 1950 World Cup - the spectacle of the rise and fall of the NASL, and the current incarnation of the Major League Soccer

The U.S. Soccer Federation Sunil Gulati, chaired, most successfully navigated the globalization of sport, while maintaining what has been both an ambivalent relationship with their own history and longer a focus on the game is the reinvention in the last quarter century. The kickoff of the latest reinvention U.S. football off the field has certainly been prepared by the successful 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, but was rejected by the July 4, 1988 FIFA vote that awarded the Cup world in 1994 in the United States. In 1989, perhaps inspired by this new horizon, the so-called "lost generation" of players who had been stranded by the collapse of the post-Pele National Football League in 1984, they offered a trip to the Paul Caligiuri desert "shot heard around the world", which saw qualify for the first World Cup in 40 years.

United States

World Cup Qualifiers have been steady since then, and with the creation of the MLS in 1996, Soccer United Marketing Company articulated arm which aims to capitalize on the growth of the game in this country, there may be little incentive for EE. UU. Football leagues remember the last meeting that the NASL or mid-century American Soccer League, or even to fully embrace the preliminary competition that has somehow survived all these incarnations - U.S. Open Cup, which is its 100th season streaming, as covered on this site last year.

But there has been a thaw in recent times, as MLS grows on your skin (which has just started its 18th season and is now the longest running football league level). The lower leagues are slowly moving in a more stable order and the new women's league is about to launch under the direct control of the United States Football (unlike the MLS, which is simply ratified by the Board of Directors). International Team Man "under J?rgen Klinsmann, progress under the weight of expectations and the review that would have been unthinkable only 25 years ago, while the women's team, which began play in 1985, goes as champions finalists in the World Cup and Olympic. There are still difficulties in the development of the game in competitive and demanding markets of all an immense country, but the meaning of hold your breath around a fragile thing and has now decreased global discourse on what game can develop and when.

As dignitaries gather at City Hall this morning to celebrate the anniversary, a few steps from the place of the original meeting will highlight what sometimes seems the most unlikely of stories. Present in 1913 few would have predicted that the small gathering at the Astor House Hotel is characterized by a centennial ceremony. Thus, the building of the new organization exceeded born in - the institution in August Manhattan closed a month later, being brutally destroyed by a metro line.

Progress football was less spectacular, but there were some really dramatic moments, and if the thread of the story is lost, sometimes USA Football is still standing and looking towards the future.

the occasion of the 100th anniversary, key figures in the American game spoke with The Guardian about his thoughts on the reference date and some of the most important moments of their participation in the game in this country:

Sunil Gulati, president of U.S. soccer

"It is clear that is 100 years old, and to see the game continue to gain a foothold in American society leads a pleasure. And in addition, whether as players, coaches, referees, or more often the case recently, as spectators, either on television or the stands, it is clear that the game has become much more important to United States and this is something that everyone who has been involved in the game has been worked.

"One time you know that it is much more difficult because there were so many different times, and most of them are iconic moments in the field involving one of our national teams, if not the purpose of Landon Donovan in 2010, when it comes to being up 3-0 and 3-2 victory against Portugal in 2002, the purpose, we classified after 40 years losing the World Cup in 1989, The Women's World Cup in 1999, here in the United States and the beginning of the Major League Soccer ... I think these are all iconic moments, so it would be impossible for me to choose one. 'Ve been in every game we have spoken, and some other ...

"Can we say that the modern era began with the award of the World Cup announced in 1988, I think I could do it. Rewinds earlier, when I think about it, this is the Olympics in 1984, because that is what gave FIFA the thought process that the United States could host a big event, because we were so successful there, but if it is 84 and the Games, and had an important choice in the federation at that time -. we have a new president - or a 1988 decision that there is a quarter of a century now, I think it is when things started to move in the right direction

Alexi Lalas, ESPN commentator, former U.S. international

"Football The American public has certainly increased in the last 10, 15 years, but the idea is to show that they recognize, and hopefully be proud of him and maybe explore some of them themselves. This is a long way of saying that I was part of the culture of football a long time and had a great time on and off the field that is part of, but even in the first days when I played for the national team, his Meolas Tony, Bruce Murray and made a point to say that I was then, it was kind of young, green dollar, there were people who came before we probably never get the credit they deserve, but they were the reason I was there at the time. Hopefully you've spent over the years.

"For me, it is still the best time to have been part of it was the summer of 1994, it certainly did for me individually, but more by how it has changed the perception of what football can. must when you play at a high level in the United States experienced the power of what the World Cup can do for a person Some people forget that me and some other players on the team that the fight against -. played in a World Cup in front of millions of people before I went to a professional environment, it was never in the books of a club team that does not suggest that this is the way you made, but this is what worked

"About two weeks before the tournament, I'm in my commercial flight, I sat in the middle seat and found myself sitting next to a nice woman, older and we got to talking, and she began to wonder what I was doing and I said: .. "I play football," and I said, 'This is so cute What do you do for a living "and I had to explain that it was my job and there was a thing called the World Cup looming. In two weeks, I received the two ends, and perhaps the perfect example of what football was at the time and then they have matured and evolved even in the summer. "

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