The 2014 World Cup is just two weeks away from kicking off in Brazil, and Team USA is ready to go, even though things will be different this time. Head coach of the United States Men's National Team, Jurgen Klinsmann recently announced his 23 man roster that will be making the trip south to Brazil. Although most were surprised by the omission of arguably America's greatest all time soccer player, Landon Donovan, Team USA did include some big names like forward and team captain Clint Dempsey, midfielder Michael Bradley and goalkeeper Tim Howard.
Klinsmann who was brought in to help Team USA continue finding success in the World Cup, is obviously taking the team in a different direction, since Donovan has been the face of American soccer for over a decade, and is the Americans all time leader in goals and assist.
According to the Guardian, this may have been a great move for Team USA, if there tune-up game with Turkey last week was any indication.
Dempsey and Michael Bradley, in an advanced midfield role, found neat touches and space to trouble the Turkish defense, and they were able to bring Jozy Altidore into the game as something more than just a desperate striker. He was able to get involved in the ball movement more, and the team dynamic helped Dempsey score in the 56th minute. The US went on to win 2-1.
For Dempsey, a devoted Christian, he hopes these new changes will help the team advance, and he hopes to give glory to God with his play.
"I play to the best of my abilities and am thankful for the many opportunities and amazing success He has given me. Through it all, I want to do right, not make mistakes, and live a life that is pleasing to Him," he said in a recent interview with Sport Spectrum.
Dempsey said he reads his Bible everyday, and compared the journey to the world cup to what Abraham faced when God spoke to him.
"God provides strength, even when circumstances seem impossible," he says. "In Genesis, God promised Abraham that he would be the father of many generations, but for years his wife, Sarah, was unable to bear children. Even as he approached one hundred years old, Abraham 'did not waver in unbelief at God's promise but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God' (Romans 4:20). Abraham's faith was rewarded when God honored His promise and Sarah, at age 90, gave birth to their son, Isaac."
Although Team USA still faces many hurdles on the road to the World Cup, they have a strong foundation in their team captain. As Dempsey knows, with God, anything is possible.
Team USA moves on to one more warm-up game in Jacksonville, Florida on Saturday, before opening their Group G campaign against Ghana on 16 June.