Philadelphia Union captain Alejandro Bedoya spoke to the media on Thursday for the first time since he and the United States Men’s National Team experienced the unthinkable: the U.S. failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
Bedoya talked about the experience not only as a player but as a father.
“I had dreams of taking my son to the World Cup, he would have been three and a half years old by then, just to experience that with him,” Bedoya said. “There was a lot of sadness, a lot of emotions after the game on Tuesday night and for me that was kind of the most disheartening thing.”
Bedoya also talked about watching the game from the sidelines as an unused sub.
“I just didn’t feel the proper energy out on the field you know,” he said. “We were kind of complacent, it was kind of lethargic and we gave up two goals to Trinidad in the first half.”
While the loss, along with Honduras and Panama wins, was the final nail in the coffin on the quest for an eighth straight World Cup, an underwhelming run in the final stage of qualifying was already producing plenty of discussions about the future for U.S. Soccer. That conversation has exploded in the days since Tuesday’s nightmare result.
“There’s a lot of hot takes out there, a lot of should be,” Bedoya said. “I think more pressure is what we need and it’s going to bring out the best of us in the future, not just for the players but for everybody involved in U.S. Soccer from the grassroots level on down to the communities, the local coaches, development academies, everything. Everybody’s got to take a good hard look in the mirror.”
Given his age - he’ll be 35 by the time the 2022 World Cup comes around - it’s likely that missing out on the World Cup will also mean Bedoya won’t have a chance to finish his international career on the game’s biggest stage. The team’s next big competition isn’t until the Gold Cup in 2019.
“Whatever happens now I just sit back and do my best for the Union and see what happens with U.S. Soccer,” he said.
Head coach Jim Curtin took up most of the time in his weekly press conference fielding questions about U.S. Soccer, speaking only briefly about the Union’s game on Sunday in Chicago.
“It’s brutal,” Curtin said. “Everyone is going to be critical of the players, and they’re going to be critical of the coaches, but if you step back and look at the emotions that they went through on that night and in this qualifying. It’s challenging. You just feel for them. If you don’t you don’t have much of a heart to be honest. They know they let the country down. They know they let the game down.”