Suffolk reacts to U.S. World Cup success

Published 10:19 pm Thursday, June 26, 2014

The United States national soccer team lost 1-0 on Thursday to Germany, but the strength the Americans displayed in their three games and some help from Portugal ensured they would reach the knockout stage of consecutive World Cups for the first time.

Germany won Group G with a 2-0-1 record and seven points. The U.S. finished apparently tied for second in the group with Portugal as both had 1-1-1 records and four points apiece.

However, though Portugal defeated Ghana 2-1 on Thursday, it was not enough to give it a better goal difference than the U.S. Both teams have scored four goals, but the Americans have only given up four, while Portugal has given up seven.

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Local players and coaches gave their take on the success of the U.S. team.

Nansemond River High School graduate and Ironclad Conference boys’ soccer Player of the Year Gabe Everette said he is a diehard U.S. fan and knew the team would advance. He explained his confidence by pointing to the players that made up the 23-man roster selected by coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

“They all had really strong seasons,” Everette said.

There was significant doubt the Americans would advance beyond Group G, which included Germany, Portugal and Ghana.

Explaining why it was dubbed the “Group of Death,” Everette said, “Because all the teams are extremely strong. Not one of them has a lot of weaknesses.”

Everette described how the Americans got through the group by recalling a quote from U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley, who said the teams that are willing to suffer will advance.

Everette said the United States clearly was willing. Aside from enduring injuries and playing in a completely unfamiliar environment in Brazil, Everette said the U.S. is “one of the teams that had to travel the most, had the toughest road schedule.”

Nansemond River coach and Ironclad Conference boys’ soccer Coach of the Year Dustin Tordoff was pleased to see the interest that U.S. success has drawn to the sport.

“It’s neat to see soccer kind of gaining fans,” he said.

For why the U.S. was able to advance, Tordoff said, “The Ghana game really was the biggest key, because Ghana is the team that’s knocked them out of the last two World Cups.”

King’s Fork High School coach and Suffolk Youth Athletic Association president Michel Bilé highlighted a particular U.S. player to explain why the team has made it this far.

“Personally, I think it was the goalkeeper,” Bilé said. “Tim Howard was very poised and alert. He saved a lot of wonderful goals.”

The U.S. will face Belgium in the round of 16 on Tuesday at 4 p.m.