There are plenty of things that can be taken from the US trek through the 2010 World Cup - some good, some not so good. But I would like to write a brief 'thank you' for a couple things that stand out the most to me.
First, thank you for giving the nation something to cheer about. Aside from the Olympics, the USA really doesn't come together for much of anything. But just looking at my Facebook page alone, it's obvious no matter how people feel about soccer as a sport, they were proud of the success finally achieved by the US Men's National Team. Some say it wasn't enough to make the entire nation head-over-heels for soccer, but the smiles and cheers were far louder and more obvious than anything the detractors could muster.
Second, thank you for showing true American determination on the pitch. Americans take great pride in a few things, and one of them is overcoming insurmountable odds. Being down early and often, you was able to tie every game they trailed in during regular time. You scored in injury time against Algeria. Even after coming even with England, Slovenia, and Ghana, the pressure wasn't taken off. That took courage, resiliency, and mental strength.
Last, thank you for amplifying continually growing love for soccer. Four years ago, I began down a road - a very soccer filled road. That year the USMNT lost in the group stages, and I was sad. I slowly but surely fell more and more in love with this rarely-televised sport. My love of the Chicago Fire came and went, and the Seattle Sounders FC took their place as my numero uno - but I had been waiting four years for this World Cup, and you delivered. I know that waking up early every morning to watch as much soccer as possible has only been fueled by your determination and grit shown on the pitch.
I doubt any member of the USMNT or anyone associated with them will ever see this post, but I just wanted to get it out there. I don't care if 55% of the nation "wasn't following the World Cup", but I sure as hell was. My tears of joy and sadness that flowed this year will forever be the reason this soccer fan will sing his lungs out for the teams he's loyal to.
This year didn't yield the coveted trophy, but there's a first time for everything. 1950 was amazing time for US soccer, and 2014 is in Brazil just like it was in 1950.
Here's to the stars and stripes, forever!