- Charles Barkley has been an extremely vocal supporter of the US Men’s National Team at Qatar 2022.
- The NBA legend said the USMNT will be “opening up a can of whoop-ass” against the Netherlands on Saturday.
- Just eight months earlier, Barkley said live on NBA on TNT that “the American men’s team sucks.”
Charles Barkley has placed an astounding amount of belief in the US men’s soccer team.
After the Stars and Stripes punched their ticket to the knockout stage of the 2022 World Cup, the basketball legend took some time out of his regularly scheduled NBA on TNT programming to express his vociferous support for Gregg Berhalter’s squad.
“We going to the Netherlands, we’re opening up a can of whoop-ass,” Barkley said Tuesday night, then shouted: “I guarantee the Netherlands are in trouble!”
“Hey, Tyler, my man 12,” Chuck added, referring to USMNT captain Tyler Adams. “We going on. Hey, I want Spain, I want Brazil, I want Germany, I want France — oh, they got that boy Mbappé over there at France, he ain’t no joke. But we’re gonna beat the Netherlands.”
—NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) November 30, 2022
It’d be reasonable to describe Barkley’s confidence as unwavering — that is, if he hadn’t blasted the same team on national television just eight months earlier.
Back in March, the NBA on TNT crew celebrated US Soccer’s massive, eight-year media rights deal with Turner Sports with customized US soccer jerseys. But during the segment, the former NBA MVP was explicit that his kit came from the women’s side of the sport.
“I just want to make this perfectly clear: This is a women’s jersey, because the American men’s team sucks,” Barkley said on air. “They do. Shoutout to the women for finally getting equal pay.”
It’s true that the US women’s team has historically been more successful on the pitch than the men’s side, and to a significant degree. From the women’s team’s founding in the 1980s to today, the Stars and Stripes have won a world-leading four World Cups, as well as six Olympic medals — four golds, a silver, and a bronze.
The women have been ranked as the top national team on the planet for 13 years total and has never fallen below the second spot in FIFA’s rankings. The American men, meanwhile, have never won a World Cup, haven’t earned an Olympic medal in well over a century, and have never broken into the top three of FIFA’s rankings.
“I’m glad to be wearing this female jersey, because the men suck,” Barkley said. “Listen, the men gotta do better, man. The men gotta do better. We’re the United States of America; we should not be bad at any sport.”
—Douglas Reyes-Ceron (@dreyesceron) March 4, 2022
It appears the men’s team’s favorable results in Qatar inspired a change of heart for “The Round Mound of Rebound.” After tying Wales and England in its first two matches of the World Cup group stage, the US earned a crucial 1-0 victory against Iran to move forward in the tournament.
And now, Christian Pulisic and company have the chance to make history. With a win against the Dutch in the Round of 16, the USMNT would match its best World Cup result since 1930.
Fans can tune in to FOX to watch kickoff between the US and the Netherlands Saturday at 10 a.m. ET.