Brian Bliss remembers coming off the field after the game that changed everything, believing nothing really was different.
Perhaps it was the fatigue of playing 90 minutes on a stiflingly humid day in Trinidad. Or the shock of the 1-0 win that had qualified the U.S. soccer team for a World Cup for the first time in four decades.
Either way, the future wasn’t clear to Bliss or his teammates on that autumn day in 1989.
“We just took it as the moment,” he said this week, looking back instead of forward. “We didn’t know how much the game was going to grow in the U.S. We thought, ‘Who knows when the next [World Cup] will be?’ ”
Yet in the span of one generation, that...