December 2009, World Cup 2010

32 Players To Watch At The World Cup


As the 00s or the “aughts” wind to a close and we prepare to embark on the second decade of the new millennium, we as a culture are being inundated with “Best of the 00s” lists. Doesn’t matter who compiles them or how they are compiled—we get lists for everything. Doesn’t matter the category either—at this point I’ve seen (or wanted to see, or not wanted to see, come to that) anything including “Best Riverdance of the 00s to “Best Broadway Musical and Showtunes” to “Best Food Network Show of the 00s” (Here’s to you Giada De Laurentiis—you brought sexy aprons back!!!) “Best Rappers” to “Best American Idol Champion” to the very interesting CNN SI compilation of “Best and Worst Pop Culture Moments in Sports” lists.

As such, rather than just put a You Tube link to the late Dan Fogelberg’s tearful “Same Old Lang Syne” on the site and call it a year—we thought we’d compile a list of our own. A forward looking list—one that looks very much ahead to the new decade and to South Africa 2010. Our list—32 Players to Watch at the 2010 South Africa World Cup, will be posted on the site until New Year’s Eve, when we will unveil the top two players on our list. The criterion to make this list is a bit arbitrary though certainly rooted in the reality of the world’s finest players. At base, it is a list of players who are exciting, elite level talents who will greatly impact their own nation’s fortune at next summer’s World Cup.

A couple of quick things to point out before we begin our countdown. First, we haven’t included players from every country—because—to be quite honest, we can’t be sure that a New Zealand player or a North Korean or a Slovenian or anyone outside of Steven Pienaar from the hosts is assuredly one of the Top 40 or so players to watch. Second, this isn’t a list of the Top 32 players in the beautiful game today. There is certainly overlap—but any top 32 players in the World list will be different and requires too much nitpicking to be remotely definitive. Finally, because the World Cup brings countless new soccer fans and viewers into the fold every four years—this list is friendly to the new folks. These folks might even just be people who have heard of many of these players but aren’t able to fully grasp their ability. For these welcome additions to our site and more importantly to the world of international football–we’ve gone beyond the call and found a “soulmate” for each listed player—that is, an athlete who plays an American-based professional sport who most resembles each player on our list (not physically, for the most part, but in terms of performance and dominance.)


What a beautiful man!

To the best of our ability, we at The Yanks Are Coming believe this list reflects an exceptional group of soccer players/footballers and we firmly believe the fate and hopes of many nations hopes may very well ride on the performance of these listed players next summer.

Neil W. Blackmon