The soccer world is abuzz with word that Landon Donovan — the face of U.S. soccer — has been left off the World Cup roster.
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann's nearly unfathomable decision, seemingly made out of spite over Donovan missing training sessions, is completely obscuring one of the real feel-good stories of the surprising U.S. World Cup team roster reveal. That's the amazing journey of Houston Dynamo midfielder Brad Davis.
Davis made the team, giving Houston a prominent local U.S. connection to the planet's biggest sporting event. To make a World Cup team for the first time at age 32 speaks to the never-give-up drive Davis showed in fighting to push himself onto soccer's grandest stage.
The Dynamo star never has been a can't-miss prospect. He's about as far from the golden boy soccer life of Donovan as you can get.
The Dynamo standout never has been a can't-miss prospect. He's about as far from the golden boy soccer life of Donovan as you can get. But he grabbed every longshot chance he could get and just kept sticking around through Klinsmann's intense camps.
The Donovan decision is glaringly baffling, but the Davis one may turn out to be quietly brilliant. Davis gives the U.S. team a set piece master, a creative corner and free kick deliverer more than capable of changing a game with a great set up to one of his more heralded teammates. In a way, Davis is akin to a 3-point specialist on the roster of the U.S. Olympic Men's Basketball Team. He won't get all the headlines, but he very well could be an important factor.
For the Dynamo who are often thought of as star less (often rightly so) it's a huge publicity coup as well. Having a connection to the U.S. World Cup team is a priceless boost. For Major League Soccer franchises, changing perceptions is an every day battle against the soccer ignorant. Even when you regularly draw 22,000 fans to your sparking downtown stadium.
Davis and the Dynamo are in the World Cup. It may take a while for the rest of the soccer world to get over Donovan and notice. But it's still an awfully special day.