The 21st edition of the FIFA World Cup is quickly approaching, as qualifier rounds progress. The last World Cup offered many surprises, such as a powerful German National Team, and a harsh 7-1 loss for Brazil against the undefeated Mannschaft. To be hosted by Russia from June 14 to July 15, the tournament will pit 32 teams against each other for the big win: the legendary golden trophy and a star on the winning country’s jersey badge, symbol of the victory.
Running until November 2017, the qualifiers will determine which teams make the 31 spots to the championship, Russia already being qualified since they will host it. The draw for the event will take place in the Kremlin on Dec. 1, 2017. As of now, the United States is ranked first for top goals with 21 of them in 7 matches played. Bruce Arena, coach of the Stars and Stripes, called up previously retired DaMarcus Beasley to play on the National Team. As the only American to play in four World Cups, he is experienced and can help the team move forward.
Christian Pulisic is another promising American player, who expects the U.S. to be part of the championship. Confident of his talent, Pulisic can play out wide, as a central playmaker or up front. Already retaining the record of youngest American to score in a World Cup qualifier, he appears determined to fight for a U.S. qualification. Palmetto student senior Harris Grey Scott will be rooting for the Stars and Stripes for the upcoming tournament.
“I believe that American soccer is becoming more popular,” Scott said. “If we can go far in the World Cup it will only make the sport grow more and more.”
Scott pointed out the rising popularity of soccer in the United States, as there are around three million children playing in U.S. Youth Soccer Leagues, according to the Huffington Post. Among teenagers, Major League Soccer is even more popular than Major League Baseball. If this continues, soccer could have a strong place in American sports.
Junior and midfielder on Palmetto’s soccer team, Nicolas Diaz, expressed who he would root for roughly 18 months from now. He will be rooting for his native Chile. His favorite player on the Chilean National Team is attacker Alexis Sanchez.
“When he [Alexis Sanchez] joined Arsenal in 2015, I would watch all of his games,” Diez said. “[I] love the way he plays and gives 100 percent in every game.”
Like every sport, soccer is a display of talent and passion. With over a year before the tournament begins, fans around the world have no choice but to wait to and see if their home country gets to be part of another exciting cup, filled with unabridged passion and interesting twists.