Leon Wobschall: Klinsmann’s heroes have lifted ‘soccer’ into a nation’s pysche

the indomitable spirit of Jermaine Jones, the heroic defending of Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler, the brilliance of Tim Howard, the commitment of DaMarcus Beasley and what about DeAndre Yedlin?

USA have added spice to World Cup.
USA have added spice to World Cup.

I can go on... and I will.

The star-spangled banner has been lowered due to a 2-1 defeat to Belgium but what cherished memories the USA have provided and what a legacy back home in the States for a game traditionally considered as a niche sport. Not any more.

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This World Cup is shaping up to be one of the best and it is thanks to the input of the equivalent of the ‘man in the street’.

Who could not have been won over by the passion play of the Iranians against Argentina and the Algerians versus the Germans? Or the Greeks against the Ivory Coast when Georgios Zaragounis ran around like an 18-year-old when he is 37.

He may have now retired from international duty but can bow out safe in the knowledge he did not die wondering – as can the US. Memo to England.

Amid the USA’s passion, there was polish. You do not get to 13th in the FIFA ratings being just workaholics.

The boys can play, just look at the free-kick co-ordinated by Michael Bradley against Belgium which was easily the best of the World Cup.

With a class act in Jurgen Klinsmann in the dug-out, one of the coaches of the tournament, and a magnificent travelling support, ‘soccer’ has never been better placed to strike States-side.

The USA’s group game with Portugal was the most watched ‘soccer’ match in the country’s history with 24.7m tuning in. Boston Red Sox’s World Series baseball win over St Louis in October averaged 14.9m viewers. Minority sport?

Crucially for the US, there is an encore in 2016 in the shape of the Copa America Centenario when all teams of the Americas convene in the States on the 100th anniversary of the first tournament.

It should be a cracker.