Soccer….Family Style

Oh, to be an American Soccer Fan
June 25, 2010, 1:36 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Still on my Blackberry with no wifi, but I must share how amazing the last 30 hours have been. I have been following US Soccer since 1993 when US played Germany in Chicago. I’ve been to every World Cup since 1994. I’m used to being the joke of the Cup, losing in some cases, winning lucky in others.

But last night, the US wrapped up the first round undefeated and on top of the group. I expected us to make the Round of 16, so it’s taken a while for the awesome wonder of it all to hit me.

It started to become clear to me today watching YouTube videos of the victory and celebration. It really was such a great night!

Then we went to breakfast, and South Africans were high fiving us and congratulating us. Later, at the mall back in Joburg, you would have thought we were celebrities for how excited people were to talk to us.

But it wasn’t until I got to the Zoo Lake Bowling Club to watch the game tonight that I realized how big this really is. I met an Italian, and I was talking to him about the crazy world it is where Italy and France go home, and the US advance to top of their group.
He stopped me and starting speaking at length about the US, our players, and how much he respects our coach. Italians respect our coach? I teared up a little.

A little later, a fan from Argentina grabbed my hand and said “Congratulations, the US is really a great team.” South Africans wanted photos with us all night, and everyone commented on how much heart the US has. Then, I watched the YouTube video of fan reactions around the world.

My husband and I have talked often about what it would take for soccer to get big in America. I thought it would be in 2022 when (maybe) the US gets to host the World Cup again. Now that I’m here with so many American who came all the way to South Africa for their first Cup, I see that we’ve come so much farther than I ever dreamt possible in the four years since Germany. It’s a great time to love soccer in the USA.

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