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Soccer in the United States in 2013: THE most newsy, eventful year yet

Dec 30, 2013, 6:00 PM EDT

Jurgen Klinsmann has the likes of Altidore, Dempsey, Donovan and Bradley to choose from. Reuters

Considering everything that happened in 2013 in domestic soccer, can there be any question that the year was the most newsworthy, eventful year yet for the sport in our country?

The national team’s dramatic fall and rise in perception bracketed the year in soccer news. According to whom you did or didn’t believe, Jurgen Klinsmann’s program was in tatters. Then it wasn’t.

In fact, “it wasn’t” became a huge understatement. But year’s end, Klinsmann’s improvements initiatives having apparently taken hold, the national team had enjoyed previously unseen highs.

Along the way, as memory makers go it’s nearly impossible to top the “Snow Clasico,” not only for the surreal and amazing aesthetics, but also for the way it helped turn around the entire World Cup qualification campaign.

Take a gander at the other elements that made 2013 the most eventful, newsy year in U.S. soccer history:

  • Robbie Rogers coming out as a gay man and retiring. Then un-retiring and returning to Major League Soccer. That became an important story in sports generally, one that transcended soccer.
  • Landon Donovan’s sabbatical, a news story that sprung all kinds of tentacles (for club and country). Foremost was his estrangement from the national team, which then evolved into one of the summer’s big news makers: his glorious return to national team grace.
  • Not coincidentally, Donovan’s reemergence drove the U.S. Gold Cup conquest, as the playmaker’s sensational form led a dominant United States tournament performance.
  • Later, back in his club jersey, Landon Donovan equaled Major League Soccer’s career scoring record.
  • Jozy Altidore’s record-setting year abroad, the best year ever for a U.S. scorer in Europe.
  • Altidore’s amazing summer of scoring for the national team, highlighted by his U.S.record of scoring in five consecutive matches.
  • Clint Dempsey, still on top of his game, traded in Premier League status for a second run in Major League Soccer, a huge development for a league where the best talent typically migrates out rather than in.
  • Huge MLS expansion news, as New York City FC came on-line as the league’s 20th franchise. A few months later, Orlando was announced as No. 21. And all along, news continued to filter out (strategically so, it’s probably worth saying) of David Beckham’s ongoing efforts to plan an MLS expansion flag in Miami.
  • The United States qualified for another World Cup, about to appear its seventh consecutive tournament. (Dos a cero. Again!) Later, and certainly related, Klinsmann was signed to another four-year deal.
  • The unbelievable drama of the final night of CONCACAF qualifying, a made-for-TV moment if there ever was one.
  • And, finally, a World Cup draw for forget for the United States.

All that, plus the usual newsiness of the MLS Cup final, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, CONCACAF Champions League, notable transfers, trades, retirements, coaching coming and goings, etc.

  1. jrocknstuff - Dec 30, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    Maybe one of the most improbable US Open Cup runs ever considering this year’s United can probably be considered the worst team in MLS history.

    • mikeevergreen - Dec 31, 2013 at 6:13 PM

      They probably got to a point sometme in June that they were going to put all their eggs in the Open Cup basket, and fortunately for them, it worked.

  2. noahbird - Dec 30, 2013 at 8:16 PM

    The only bright spot in our national foreign policy if it is such.

  3. hildezero - Dec 30, 2013 at 10:13 PM

    “…newsy year in U.S. soccer history:”

    It’s better to just put “American soccer”, instead of “U.S. soccer”, because it sounds like you’re talking about US Soccer Fed.

    • footballer4ever - Dec 31, 2013 at 3:00 PM

      Tsk! Tsk! Tsk! (SMH)

  4. footballer4ever - Dec 31, 2013 at 12:27 AM

    It was a marvelous and enjoyable football year for me. Besides watchinh plenty of Club football and National teams football on tv, i made sure to attend Gold Cup games, International Guiness Champions Cup games, and Brazil vs Honduras , all thos football matches at Sunlife Stadium and each of those games was an spectacle on the stands and on the pitch. Stephen Ross will have a better year with our football than with dolphins eggball team he owns there.

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