2009: The soccer year in review
The fast-approaching New Year tends to bring a bit of nostalgia -- and indeed, soccer fans in the U.S. had a lot to commemorate in 2009. Whether you're a follower of the U.S. national team, Major League Soccer, the UEFA Champions League or all of the above, this past year provided a collection of drama that proved more boards are surfing the soccer wave than ever before.
Here are 10 moments, in no particular order:
At first, the joke was on MLS for signing a player who wanted to leave to join another team. But
Beckham's image took a hit as that of a selfish deal-breaker, but when he helped the Galaxy make the playoffs, he won back quite a few of the supporters he had alienated. His play in Italy and the aid he offered his team there won him a host of new fans.
Brazil woke up, got mad and restored the natural order of things before the final whistle, but that didn't change what happened after Donovan struck. Simply put, there was a new look of respect on the faces of the Brazil players (some of the world's very best in the sport) as they contemplated how much work it would take to defeat the U.S. Sure, they got their Confederations Cup title, but the Brazilians had to claw their way back from two goals down. They'd be the first to say the Americans made them earn it.
Another departure was harder to take. The shock of