Word is that New England Revolution and perennially-almost-US midfielder Steve Ralston will soon announce his official retirement from not-quite-being-good-enough-for international play.
Ralston, famous as the namesake for US Soccer's "Ralston Line", has a long and storied career of not being called up for the US National team. Among the teams he was not included on were the 2002 and 2006 World Cup squads. Before that, Ralston began his almost-International career by being left off various US U-17, U-20, and U-23 teams.
With Ralston's retirement, debate has been sparked among US soccer insiders as to who will take his place as the US's standard-bearer of not-quite-good-enough. Ralston's Revolution teammate Taylor Twellman has, by all accounts, been auditioning for the part for years, although opinions vary throughout US soccer whether Twellman fits the bill. "Taylor's certainly got that wonderful pout and that, 'I can't believe you didn't pick me' chip on his shoulder," commented one US Soccer official, "But his quality of play doesn't really make him a credible candidate for almost-inclusion. It would end up being a dead giveaway every time we called him into camp that he was just there to be the new Ralston."
Said another former US coach, "There's just no one else in the US almost-player pool quite like Steve. With those watery eyes and weak chin, he just looks the part of a loser. He was always so much fun to dismiss at the end of every camp. One time I even let my son, Kenny, do it. Man, was Steve pissed! But, he took it, you know? That's why he's the best."
Steve Ralston, portrayed here by Tobias Menzies, the dude who played Brutus in "Rome".