Along with the United States’ roster for the upcoming Concacaf Gold Cup being released, the jersey numbers were also revealed. Most people won’t really care about who wears what number, but it’s undeniable that soccer assigns a certain cultural cachet to certain digits.
Given that, it’s entirely predictable that Cristian Roldan’s assignment of the No. 10 was met with big feelings.
If you’re so inclined, I’d suggest reading the replies to this tweet, which range from completely unhinged to laughably out of touch.
I’m not going to waste anyone’s time by mining all the most ridiculous ones, but this tweet probably sums it up best:
Look, I’m not going to attempt to make the case that Roldan is the obvious choice for the No. 10 jersey, but I do think it’s worth pointing out that he has effectively played that role for the best team in MLS this year. Roldan is not a prototypical No. 10 in that he’s not really a playmaker, and more of a runner. My suspicion is that he’ll likely be used more of a No. 8 in Gregg Berhalter’s system anyway.
It’s also worth noting that he wore the No. 10 when he was called into the November 2019 Concacaf Nations League games, where he only started one of the two games. In the game he started — a 4-0 win over Cuba — Roldan was deployed as one of the two deeper-lying midfielders, so this might not be indicative of much.
Beyond that, Roldan’s assignment of the No. 10 seems to be illustrative of a certain general frustration with this roster which is clearly not a first-choice group. Most of the top Europe-based Americans — including the normal No. 10 Christian Pulisic — were just called into the Nations League final about a month ago. Many of those players will likely be called up for World Cup qualifying in September. It makes perfect sense that Berhalter is choosing to give many of them a break.
Mainly, I just want to remind everyone that USMNT fandom is a little weird and to not let yourself get sucked too deep down the rabbit hole. Instead, I’ll advise you to do your best to just enjoy the actual games and look at this stuff more as an entertaining distraction.