Columnist Dan Oshinsky has been trying to work out the U.S. equivalent to China's first Olympic track and field gold medalist, Liu Xiang. And then he came up with an answer -- the men's national soccer team. Liu shattered for the Chinese "the stereotype that they cannot compete in any sprint-type event. Chinese regard him as a symbol of progress here, perhaps even a symbol of China's future as a superpower in many new, diverse regions of economics and politics." Bob Bradley's boys could do the same for the USA.
If, says Oshinsky, taking a massive leap of the imagination, "the U.S. men's team was to win the World Cup, it would be an enormous triumph for Americans. A championship would certainly shatter the notion that Americans are only good at team sports like basketball or football. It would bring instant credibility to the sport, which is already played by millions of youths around the country. It would be a historic moment in U.S. sport."
Once a U.S. World Cup triumph was seen by millions both at home and abroad, it would raise a marketing opportunity "practically unprecedented in the States. Nike's the sponsor of the men's team, and the players would become instant celebrities. Soccer TV ads are already visually stunning; insert Americans instead of European stars into those ads, and imagine the potential for Nike."
It's surely what all U.S. soccer fans would want most from a World Cup victory -- a higher profile and extra cash for those lovable underdogs at Nike.