2022 World Cup

After the catastrophic disqualification four years ago for the 2018 Russia World Cup, the United States men’s team returns to the field.

Lucy Wang

There is so much more to the World Cup than victory, glory, and intensity. There is an indescribable spirit to this month-long tournament; it has the power to bring out the passion of people from all around the world and connect their hearts together as they celebrate, grieve, and bond over this shared experience.

“[The World Cup] is this vehicle for unification across the world; there is a whole being around it,” said social science instructor and soccer coach Kevin Shertzer.

“It’s an identity and a life for people. It’s not just a sports tournament.”

The 2022 World Cup will be hosted in Qatar, and it will be the first World Cup held in November, instead of in June, due to the extreme summer heat in Qatar.

Much attention has already been drawn to the host country ever since they won the right to hold the World Cup back in 2010.

Organizations and fans worldwide have criticized the country’s treatment of the 30,000 foreign workers in building the infrastructures and other multibillion-dollar projects for the tournament.

The workers live in squalid accommodations, work with little wages, and have no access to government aid. Many fans have been disappointed with Qatar’s effort to acknowledge their actions.

This November, fans will watch a total of 32 countries compete for the World Cup title. After the group competition, the remaining teams will enter the knock-out stages; the games will get progressively more competitive as the best teams fight for the championship, awarded on Dec. 18.

It is a milestone moment as the United States returns to the cup with an enthusiastic team, after unexpectedly disqualifying for the 2018 Russia World Cup.

“It’s a big step for the country. Soccer has been growing and becoming more popular,” junior Joshua Hansen said.

Since the World Cup only happens every four years, it places enormous pressure on the players to perform at their best, and it holds such significance for the players to represent and play for their country.

Sometimes just having a place in the World Cup can unite or change a nation, let alone winning.

Soccer has the ability to bring resonance in the world community and its power for unification within a country is immeasurable. The emergence of a star player can mean the rebirth of a nation’s self-confidence.

Many Americans are excited to see the performance of Christian Pulisic, who plays as an attacking midfielder or winger for the United States national team and Premier League club, Chelsea.

Pulisic is often perceived as one of the best players of his generation worldwide, and his work ethic makes him stand out from other players.

We live in an era where star players train day and night, starting in youth teams, trying to achieve or reach an unattainable height.

“And sometimes that could turn into this soul-sucking experience of trying to be the best you could be; Pulisic didn’t do that; he played Tuesdays and Thursdays because he loved playing,” Shertzer said.

“He did it because he loved it, and you can’t exchange that for anything.”

It is not to say that Pulisic did not put in hard work and effort, but that his love, pure enjoyment, and soccer talent are rare in today’s sports culture, and America is indeed lucky to have such a player on the team.

The dynasties are changing as a significant amount legendary veteran players retire, and a generation of energetic and talented young players begin to make a name for themselves. Still, the sportsmanship and spirit that the World Cup represents will persist.

The World Cup trophy will attract the hearts of four billion people worldwide. It will bring grand celebrations or endless disappointments in different countries and unite nations and bring people together.

“For the soccer players, that’s what you dream about,” Shertzer said. “It’s the pinnacle of what you play for. And there are other things that are important, like the Champions League and the Gold Cup, those are important too, but nothing surpasses the World Cup.”