The move was swift.[tweet https://twitter.com/ussoccer/status/469591998039863296 align=’center’]
And, just like that, the international career of one, Landon Donovan, seemingly was over.
Jürgen Klinsmann, head coach of the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team, made his final cuts for the World Cup roster. Stalwart and clutch goal-scorer, Landon Donovan did not make the cut. The clue came through even earlier than U.S. Soccer’s tweet from ESPN’s Taylor Twellman:[tweet https://twitter.com/TaylorTwellman/status/469591081773187073 align=’center’]
Suffice to say the move caught many by surprise. Was it fair? Let ESPN’s Alexi Lalas weigh in:[tweet https://twitter.com/AlexiLalas/status/469596703750766592 align=’center’]
I’ll leave the arguments on the final roster and Donovan’s snub to others. I am more curious about the social media effect this news had.
Let’s face it. Americans care about soccer. American soccer, that is, at World Cup time. Some watch soccer only every four years (or two, if they tune in to the women’s World Cup). Those who watched in 2010 saw Landon Donovan’s goal against Algeria. A crucial goal to help the U.S. earn a much-needed three points. They know Donovan’s name. He is, for all intents and purposes, the face of American soccer.
Well, he was. Which is what made this such a huge story on social media. The non-soccer fan that watches the World Cup knows Landon Donovan. For them, this was unfathomable. Who did Jurgen Klinsmann think he is leaving perhaps the greatest Team USA soccer player ever off of the World Cup roster? This news resonated with them.
When a story of this magnitude breaks, social media is where you’ll find the reaction. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. They all were a part of the news today. The tweet at the top generated nearly 7300 retweets and 2500 favorites, as of this writing. Normally, I’m not a fan of sharing the same exact post on all social media channels, but in this case, it does provide a level playing field for comparison. The U.S. Soccer social media team shared the same 23-man roster photo accordingly:
Facebook: Over 10k Likes and 7300 Shares
Instagram: Over 15k Likes and 1700 Comments
Just how big was the news?[tweet https://twitter.com/mexicoworldcup/status/469606414462119936 align=’center’]
and in the UK[tweet https://twitter.com/grahamruthven/status/469619984227110913 align=’center’]
and Worldwide too[tweet https://twitter.com/beINSPORTSUSA/status/469602368250605568 align=’center’]
As of 10pm PT on May 22, he was still trending on Facebook:
To his credit, Landon Donovan took to his Facebook page to thank the fans (note the number of Likes and Shares):
How will this all play outing Brazil remains to be seen. Klinsmann will be second-guessed if the U.S. flames out in the group stage. [Although between you and me, the chances were already slim.] If the U.S. somehow moves through? Well, let’s just say, social media will be a fun place to be regardless.
But, winning makes it fun.
In the meantime,
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