Nobody in the United States wanted to see the U.S. Men’s National Team miss out on the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Still, things did not go their way and the U.S. will be watching this summer’s tournament from home thinking what could’ve been.
Despite a lot of negativity towards the squad from the American fanbase, American defender DeAndre Yedlin was proud of the reaction that the fans showed.
“In the U.S., I haven’t experienced anything bad except after [failing to qualify for] the World Cup,” Yedlin told ESPN. “After that, I got what you’d expect. People were disappointed. People were confused.”
“It was more on social media than in person. But you expect that and it shows they care. I’m proud — not that we didn’t make it to the World Cup — but I’m proud they showed that kind of reaction. It shows they’re interested in it, they care, they’re invested in it and that’s what we need in America help grow the sport.”
The U.S.’s loss to Trindad paired with Mexico’s win over Honduras, and Panama’s late victory over Costa Rica pushed the Americans out of fourth place in CONCACAF qualifying. This summer will be the first World Cup finals that the U.S. will miss since 1986, and Yedlin feels the team was too complacent against Trindad who they normally are used to defeating.
“I don’t think we were on our game [against Trinidad],” Yedlin said. “We all thought that the chances of us not going through were so slim that we could do whatever we wanted.
“Obviously that wasn’t the case. Some other things happened that we couldn’t control in other games. You could say it was unlucky but in the end it was down to us. We didn’t do the job and ended up paying the ultimate price for it.”
Yedlin stated that he will watch the World Cup this summer even though it will be painful. Following that, he will throw his support towards his country’s joint bid with Canada and Mexico for the 2026 edition of the World Cup.
“I’ll definitely watch the World Cup. It’ll hurt, for sure, but I love the sport so it’s not like I’ll kick it off. It’s the World Cup, the biggest event in football, so obviously to not be there hurts but I still have friends and teammates playing in it that I’ll be supporting, so I’m excited to see them play.”
“It’ll be great to have it in America [in 2026] — not only for the players to have a World Cup in their own country but for the country to help build the sport. It’s a sport growing rapidly in America and, although it’s hard to see it from over here, being there and speaking with people like ex-teammates, they say it’s unbelievable how quickly it’s growing.
“It’ll be great for the country to help raise the attention to football — or soccer — in the U.S.”