The question always surfaces every four years…can the United States ever truly become one of the world’s powers in association football, or, as we like to call it, soccer?
Turns out, we can’t even get our reporters educated when it comes to the sport, never mind our players.
Germany superstar Bastian Schweinsteiger, the latest international superstar to make the trip over to MLS in the latter stages of his career, was introduced to his new fans in Chicago, preparing to don the kit of the Fire next season. It was then Schweinsteiger was asked if he would be leading Chicago to a World Cup title…
The culprit was Derek Henkle, an Agence France Presse reporter based in America, who asked Schweinsteiger to literally achieve the impossible, win a World Cup….that’s not hyperbole either, as the World Cup is open only to national teams, not club teams. A team employee attempted to save face by informing Schweinsteiger that perhaps Henkle was referring to the FIFA Club World Cup, which matches clubs from all over the world. However, Henkle doubled down on the quote seconds later, again mentioning the World Cup, no references to its club variation.
To his credit, Schweinsteiger did attempt to to entertain the reporter’s question, even offering him a bit of a smile at the end. The German legend, 32, helped his nation win the most recent World Cup in Brazil in 2014, and also captured victory twice in the Club World Cup in 2013, competing with Bayern Munich. Though his new team, the Fire is eligible to partake in the Club World Cup, they have never competed, nor has any MLS team.
Henkle, formerly with the Associated Press, does not seem to focus much on sports, including soccer, as his website seems to focus more on political news. His profile also features his diverse resume, also featuring stints at Voice of America, Verizon FiOS and Good Morning America. To his credit, he has apologized for his gaffe, telling British news outlet The Telegraph he was “truly sorry” if he had “offended anyone”, calling Schweinsteiger a “class act” for working through the mishap as seamlessly as possible.
The Fire’s Twitter account had a little fun with the question, referring to the 2018 World Cup, set to be held in Russia.
— Chicago Fire (@ChicagoFire) March 29, 2017