BOSTON (CBS) – Soccer is on the brink of becoming a major sport here in the United States — that’s the same message we’ve been hearing for decades, so far to no avail.
Perhaps a lengthy World Cup run could change that, at least that’s what Revolution defender A.J. Soares believes.
Soares joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s The Adam Jones Show Wednesday night to discuss the US Men’s National Team, his Revs and much more.
“I think [a World Cup run] could be huge. I think every time there is a World Cup there’s a little more surge and interest,” said Soares. “As well as our league [MLS] is doing right now, as well as our national team can do in this World Cup, I think the impact could be massive. I’m looking forward to it definitely. I think we’ll see the effects, in our league specifically, after the World Cup.”
What could be a major hindrance to the USMNT’s chances is the opponents they’ll be facing in group play.
Deemed “the group of death,” the US must face Ghana, a team that’s bounced them in the past two World Cups, as well as Portugal and Germany, recognized as two of the top three teams on the planet.
A major challenge, no doubt, but Soares is confident in his countrymen.
“I give us a good chance. Watching them the other day against Nigeria, who are the African champions right now — so hypothetically better than Ghana — we crushed them. I’m for it. I think they have a really good chance. I think they’re underdogs definitely and it’ll be a major positive [for Team USA] if teams look past them. I really do give us a good chance to get through. I’m really confident in the group they have there. I think we have some top quality players and I’m looking forward to see how they do.”
Soares, who is of Portuguese descent, is obviously most looking forward to see how they perform in that second game versus Portugal against the best player in the world in Cristiano Ronaldo.
The big storyline leading up to the games is the decision of head coach Jurgen Klinsmann leaving Landon Donovan, the most decorated soccer player in American history, off the roster.
Soares doesn’t have an opinion either way on the controversy, and thinks it’s hard for any of us to know the situation unless we were there at tryouts.
“Every camp is different. I’ve been in a million preseason camps with different teams and different things happen. Unless you’re inside that camp and know the dynamic of every meeting and training session, you can’t really judge. It seems easy to make a judgment of whether he should be there or not, but it’s not that simple I can tell you that.”
Also making headlines is the comments from the coach, who’s pointed out on more than one occasion that his team has no chance of winning the whole thing, which has drawn the ire of soccer fans nationally.
“I’m sure he’s doing it for a reason. I’m sure he’s doing it to motivate his players. Maybe he’s trying to take pressure off of them. There’s a lot of reasons he could be doing it,” said Soares.
Listen below for the full discussion, including his favorite to win it all and much more: