Apr 5, 2012, 7:15 PM EDT
Well, stick this in your guacamole and give it a good stir:
Mexico now holds every single men’s crown available in CONCACAF (the peculiar acronym for North and Central American and Caribbean).
That’s never happened before, according to Jonah Freedman, the MLSSoccer.com writer who put the pieces together in his weekly column, pointing a laser light at this thorny little burr in the U.S. Soccer backside.
After clinching the under-23 tournament on Monday, Mexico now holds that one, the Gold Cup (for senior men’s teams), the regional under-20 title and the regional under-17 title. Mexico is the world under-17 champion, in fact.
“The challenge is now squarely on the US to respond,” Freedman writes. “If American youth teams are losing to their Mexican counterparts, they need to be restocked and re-educated in some way. That’s what [Jurgen] Klinsmann is trying to do, according to [Sunil] Gulati. That’s why the USSF has overhauled the Development Academy program. It’s why Klinsmann is adamant about players getting minutes at the highest level. It’s why he wants to re-create the American player from the ground up.”
It wasn’t so long ago, don’t forget, where everything was rosebuds and lollipops on our side of the border – relatively speaking, anyway – while Mexico was pinned to the mat.
Mexico won only once in the border series between 2001 and 2009. (El Tri was 1-7-2 during that span against the United States, a maddening state that had El Tri changing out coaches like a bored kid changes TV channels.)
Plus, Mexico didn’t qualify for the 2008 Olympics. It was all quite humbling.
Clearly, the Mexican federation responded. Now it’s U.S. Soccer’s turn.
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