Why Friday’s soccer game is so important to the future


Mexico’s Hector Herrera, right, falls to the ground as United States’ Matt Besler looks for the ball during the second half of a World Cup qualifying soccer match Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio. (Jay LaPrete/AP Photo)

This past Friday, the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) took on the Mexican national soccer team in a World Cup qualifying match. The kind of games are always huge for fans of the USMNT. Mexico is one of, if not the largest rival of U.S. Soccer. Over the past 16 years the game has been known as the “Dos a Cero,” reflecting a stretch of four games from 2001-2009 where the USMNT defeated Mexico 2-0 in all four games cementing the rivalry between both teams. That record hasn’t held true since, but the rivalry will never die.

Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 will go down as a loss for the USMNT. Mexico scored in the 20th minute with a goal from Miguel Layún. The national team responded just after half-time with a goal from USMNT newcomer Bobby Wood. Unfortunately the team’s efforts would all go to waste as Mexico would score one more time one a corner kick during the 89th minute, giving the U.S. almost no time to respond.

Many people feel that a soccer game is not what the United States should be spending time on, especially in wake of the monumental election that took place last Tuesday. These games, however, mean more to our nation in times like these than ever before.

Sports are played in every single country in the world. In the entire world, soccer is the most popular. It has over a quarter of billion players worldwide in over 200 countries. The game has reached more people all over the world than any other sport. Even in the United States, the game is growing as more and more people look to add to their sports following. Almost every major city within the United States has its own soccer team.

This past election divided the country. Donald Trump just barely won the amount of votes he needed to actually win the election. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. Trump and Clinton were almost the opposite of each other on every single election. Following the election there have been widespread protests and celebrations across the country. From New York to Los Angeles, people have been protesting the election of Trump to the Oval Office. There have also been huge celebrations honoring Trump, including some people who have done so in a racist capacity.

In such a divided time, nations need a time to come together. Sports have that ability. No matter who you supported in the election, there is a good chance that you root for the same team as someone who voted for the other party. Teams act as representatives of their countries to spread their culture and the love of their sport around the world. The USMNT has the name of the U.S. in its name. It is a team that supports that true values of America no matter what happens in the country.

This game, however, has even more value than just a big game following a staggering political week. This soccer match was against a country who had been ripped apart during the presidential election. During his announcement speech, Trump accused Mexico of sending their worst people to America. The GOP has made a platform on changing trade deals with Mexico and on deporting all 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country.

It was in this kind of splintered environment that the United States vs. Mexico soccer game occurred. And it went off brilliantly. Both teams came together to throw all differences aside and to be representatives of their country. In games like this, and times like these scores do not even matter. At the end of the day, we are all people on this same earth. If we can fix relations between all people than the world will be a better place. Mexico may be our biggest rival, but they are also a huge ally. It only makes sense that we would do everything in our power to make this relationship work, especially if we need to survive four more years.

Amar Batra is a senior staff photographer and opinion’s staff columnist for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email amar.batra@uconn.edu. He tweets at @amar_batra19.

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