Are you a U.S. men's national team fan? If not, congrats; self-care is very important. If so, what will you remember 2023 as?
After what was ultimately a very successful 2022 -- qualifying for the World Cup and then playing quite well at the World Cup -- 2023 was, well, what exactly? Although I'm sure plenty of you will disagree with the assertion from the previous sentence -- that the U.S. played quite well in Qatar -- at least they played. This is American soccer's golden generation, and Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Yunus Musah, Sergiño Dest and Gio Reyna all played in their first World Cup. That's meaningful, no matter the result.
The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) decided to follow that up with six months of interim managers -- only to just rehire Gregg Berhalter, the guy who was the manager in Qatar. Thanks to the USSF's extended coaching search for the person who was there the whole time, the USMNT only played two competitive soccer games under Berhalter in 2023, and zero of those games featured the team's two most important players in 2022: the captain and the vice-captain, Adams and Pulisic.
Although it was close, it wasn't quite a lost year for the program. So, with qualification for the Nations League semifinals clinched and a wrap on this competitive year for the USMNT, let's see if we glean a couple of lessons from 2023 and set a goal for 2024.