I was talking to a friend on something he had posted on his Facebook page. For a change, we weren't on opposite sides of the political spectrum; the content didn't have anything to do with politics, just finding common ground that we had lost over the last election year.

I'm not one for scary movies. Life is scary enough without having someone in a clown mask with a machete sneaking in to my dreams and killing off my family for my stupidity. But when my friend posted that "The Birds" was playing on The Turner Classic Movie Network, I couldn't help but take notice.


"The Birds" is one of the scariest movies I've ever seen. My earlier comments show you my appetite for watching current movies like "Rings," "Split", or anything else that doesn't include a teddy bear, an animated character, or a Disney stamp.

If anyone from my sons' generation watched the movie on Friday night, they probably changed the channel out of boredom, but Alfred Hitchcock was the ultimate director if you wanted to watch something to make your skin crawl.

To this day, when the starlings settle in the trees above our neighborhood, I have flashbacks to the few times I could muster enough courage to watch the movie all the way through.

I chose not to watch the movie on Friday night because I was watching something that was far scarier, the US men's national soccer team "friendly" with Jamaica. Sure, it's hard to compare a sporting event to a horror movie — that is, unless you, like me, spent your Friday night watching the fiasco that is our current state of the USMNT.

I think there's time for coming back from our position in the World Cup qualifying rounds as most of the teams we will play are subpar teams, but right now we are sitting in sixth place out of six teams with two losses and a minus-5 goal differential.

That's not a pretty sight. Don't ever want to be on the bottom looking up to qualify.

Some of where we find ourselves now can be laid squarely on the shoulders of our previous coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, and the collection of players that he kept putting on the field as "America's Best." I began as a staunch supporter of Klinsmann and although he rolled things out like a Donald Trump executive order, I still support many of the changes that he made to our youth program that will pay dividends in the long run.

One thing I was critical of was, of the 320 million people in this country, I never felt that Klinsmann put our best 22 on the squad. And certainly not the best 11 on the pitch.

So, unlike most other USMNT soccer fans, I was excited to see Bruce Arena get back involved in the team. Not because I thought he would be our knight in shining armor, but because there are very few soccer minds in our country that know the landscape and the young players coming up through the ranks.

Surely he would be able to recruit and attract the best of our youth soccer program and begin to fill our huge holes with quality, home-grown players, not the leftovers from the European national teams that Klinsmann was so fond of.

With all that hope and change expected from the coaching change, based on what we saw on Friday night, the results were roughly the same as the last time someone stood up and promised hope and change to the American people.

I know it was only a friendly and the players that were thrown in to the Jamaica game are not the same ones that we should expect to fill the roster once the Road to Russia picks back up, but I know players that I have personally coached against in the past that are better than the players we saw rocking the Blue this weekend like Junior Flores (Great Falls, Borussia Dortmund II), Gedion Zelalem (OBGC, Arsenal), and the No. 4 pick in this year's MLS draft, Jeremy Ebobisse (OBGC, Portland).

We now have a U.S. Development Academy and a promotional structure in place for players to move up the ranks. At 13 million participants, soccer only trails basketball and baseball/softball as the third most played team sport in the United States.

Once again I'm left to wonder, is this the best that we have to offer?


Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell once wrote, "There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure."

For the U.S. men's national soccer team, there's been plenty of failure to learn from. The time is now for our preparation and hard work to overcome those failures.