U.S. Soccer

MLK Day: One Nation. One Team.


“I have a Dream.” These four words, simple yet profound, echo especially loud today. In an era of great need, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s timeless message of equality and love animated a world previously stuck in black and white. On this MLK Day, U.S. Men’s National Team players took a moment to share how Dr. King’s words left an imprint on their lives, and to honor a man who made it possible for a team of all colors, languages, cultures and creeds to come together to represent one nation as one team.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


“He fought for equal rights for everybody. To be on a team made up of so many different ethnicities and religions, and that we’re able to get along, is a beautiful thing. So we owe a lot to Martin Luther King for the way he changed people and how they view things, allowing people to embrace one another for who they are on the inside and not what’s on the outside.”
- Clint Dempsey

“Let freedom ring!”
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Growing up in Georgia and with Dr. Martin Luther King being from there, in the early stages of my life my parents would tell me about him, and how when they grew up and came to the country times were different. There’s a lot of history in the South with the movement for racial equality, and raising me on the principles of his vision and learning what he went through gave me insight into how I should be as an individual.”
- Sean Johnson 

“The ultimate measure of a man is
not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience,
but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Whether you lose people in your life, whether you get injuries, or you get cut from teams, just the highs and lows, it’s something that everybody deals with – that rollercoaster of the ups and downs. Just try to keep a level head, keep fighting and grinding. I think the things that you work the hardest toward hold the most value in the end. He definitely had that fighting spirit to be able to stand up and speak when his life was threatened.”

- Clint Dempsey 

“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

“Courage is what we need to show when we travel to other countries and hostile environments needing to get results. So you can make similarities there, but at the same time, it’s easier to go out and play a sport that you love to do than it is to go out there and try to change the world like he did.”
- Clint Dempsey 

“Deep down in our nonviolent creed is the conviction there are
some things so dear, some things so precious, some things so eternally true,
that they’re worth dying for.”
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“We’re still climbing and trying to get better, and we’ve taken a lot of strides from when he was alive, but I still think we’ve got a long way to go. To be able to play next to somebody from a different walk of life though, I think, is special. I think Dr. King would be proud.”
- Sean Johnson 


Soccer 101: The History of USA vs. Mexico

Despite being North American neighbors, the first meeting between the United States and Mexico actually took place on the other side of the Atlantic. Played on May 24, 1934 in Rome, the game was a one-off match – essentially the USA’s first World Cup qualifier – for the right to play in the second FIFA World Cup, which was set to kick off days later in venues across Italy.

Playing in front of 10,000 spectators, including Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, the Americans rode a four-goal performance from Aldo “Buff” Donelli to defeat Mexico 4-2 and earn a place in the 16-team field at the 1934 FIFA World Cup.


You would hope the 11 players that came away victorious that day cherished the memory in Rome, because as big as the result was, it would take another 46 years before the USA would defeat Mexico again.

Though 17 of those 24 matches were played on Mexican soil, that winless streak against our neighbors to the south is by far the longest against any one opponent in team history, both in terms of number of games and years,. It fortunately ended on Nov. 23, 1980, when the U.S. used a pair of goals from Steve Moyers to defeat Mexico 2-1 in another Qualifying match, this time for the 1982 FIFA World Cup.


With Mexico already booking its ticket to the next round of Qualifying and the USA already eliminated, from a competitive standpoint, the match was meaningless. However, whether or not they realized it, the 2,126 fans in attendance at Fort Lauderdale’s Lockhart Stadium witnessed history that night, and to this day are among the few Americans that saw the USA’s 43-year winless streak against Mexico come to an end.

Though the USA and Mexico met only once more during the decade, the dam had been cracked. With 1990 marking the MNT’s first appearance in the World Cup in 40 years, the 1980s also served as a transitional phase in the rivalry with Mexico as a new generation of American players began to reap the benefits of greater emphasis on the game here at home to lay the foundation for future triumphs.

The first in a series of successes came during the semifinals of the 1991 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Led by former Mexico head coach Bora Milutinovic, the USA used second-half strikes from John Doyle and Peter Vermes to stun El Tri 2-0 in front of a pro-Mexico crowd of 41,103 at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and went on to win the tournament’s inaugural title.

WATCH: USA Defeats Mexico 2-0 in 1991 CONCACAF Gold Cup Semifinal

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MNT May 24, 2017