The inspiration from Wednesday’s match, available to anyone willing to make use of it, is to never stop trying with everything you’ve got. Never.
The Americans, staring elimination in the face, scored a goal “at the death” (as they say in the international soccer world) to defeat Algeria and progress from the group stage to the knockout stage – the final 16 of the world’s biggest sporting tournament.
The USA men’s national soccer team doesn’t have the best talent in the tournament – we are worlds away from having the likes of Lionel Messi and many others.
But what we do have is a team spirit and a belief that it is never too late. Our players don’t let adversity get them down – a goal scored was waived off for a phantom foul in the previous game against Slovakia that made our chances of going through to the next round a bit dicey; and another goal scored today was waived off for an incorrect offsides call – a mistake that could have resulted in a disappointing exit from South Africa.
Such events that could leave a team dispirited didn’t seem to affect this group of players. They seemed to view it as part of the rub of the green and moved on.
They now move on to Saturday (2:30 pm ET) when they face Ghana, the only African nation left in Africa’s World Cup – from the frying pan to the lion’s den.
For Tennessee’s upcoming couple of football seasons, the win-loss tally is not going to be used by me as the ultimate metric of success. I don’t expect much in the way of W/L for a while.
My metric of success for this team, led by the energetic Derek Dooley, will be the level of togetherness and effort displayed by the players. If Dooley and Co. can succeed in developing a TEAM of players who are willing to go to battle for the orange shirt and each other, then we have success regardless of the W/L talley. The rest will come in due time.
Wednesday’s heroics in Pretoria, South Africa are there for the taking as inspiration to the players, coaches, and the fans of the Vols.