The Blade, July 22
Youth interest in soccer in America is showing a decline in participation after the sport appeared to be gaining a toehold in this country.
It’s a disappointing development because of soccer’s global status and because the game is so accessible.
The decline comes at the same time in which the U.S. men’s national soccer team failed to qualify for the just-finished World Cup. Countries with 1 percent of the U.S.’s population not only got into the World Cup but advanced to the quarter-finals. Croatia, which has a population about the size of Los Angeles, made it to the finals.
Soccer in America should put its collective head together and create developmental programs, the way football and baseball have done, to make sure there is recreational and competitive soccer widely available at all income levels.
If the U.S. Soccer Federation wants to grow the game in this country it should make the sport available where price is less of a factor. With America set to host the World Cup in 2026, now would be a good time for soccer to get in the game.
The Akron Beacon Journal, July 20
Administration officials tried to move quickly to repair the damage. So went the news accounts following the recent NATO summit in Brussels, the Pentagon portrayed as taking the lead in reassuring allies. The message? Despite the harsh and threatening words hurled by the president, the United States remains committed to the alliance and its obligations.
Forgive the NATO members if they are uncertain whether the White House or others actually speak for the administration.
Much is made about Article Five of the NATO treaty, the language pledging that when one member is attacked, all will respond. That is not a legal requirement, and it has been invoked just once, after the Sept. 11 attacks. What has been decisive has been the commitment of American presidents, Republicans and Democrats.
To their credit, both houses of Congress overwhelmingly reaffirmed this country’s commitment. That is the steep hill the president should face in making the case for a new direction. Why abandon what is winning?