Soccer….Family Style

Make Your Mother Proud
October 9, 2010, 11:19 am
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See the guy up there? In front of the crowd? He is the song leader for the supporters section. And he’s my favorite guy at any given game.

I got in an argument with someone at the 2010 World Cup over this. A WC virgin was getting annoyed at our section’s song leader because the virgin didn’t want to sing or cheer. He was yelling at the song leader to turn around and watch the game. He was berating him for coming all the way to South Africa and not watching the game.

I look at that fact the other way around. The song leader came all the way to South Africa to lead a section of fans in songs and chants. It’s one thing to get up in front of your friends, when you know they’ll follow whatever cheer you start. It’s a whole other level of guts to get up in front of a mixed section: supporters, fans, people who just got tickets, and a few opposing fans and try to lead that section in chants.

I was remembering the song leaders (from Sparta, New Jersey…a couple of great guys) from US vs England as I watched this guy at the Fire last night lead my kids through a bunch of cheers. It made me think of how proud I would be if one day my kids were up in front of a section, leading soccer chants. I may combust from sheer pride.

I think, other than raising a national team player, a song leader might be the next best thing. It takes confidence, leadership, bravery, public speaking. It means you have the respect of your peers. There are worse things your kids could do for sure.

For the Sparta guys, I just pointed out to my virgin seat mate that there were plenty of sections that weren’t singing, and if he didn’t want to sing, perhaps he could be respectful and just move. Rest assured if it’s my kid leading the cheers, I won’t be so diplomatic.

Like Mother, Like Daughter
October 9, 2010, 10:56 am
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If I’m at a soccer game and not under the giant banner/flag, it’s bad mojo. It feels unlucky, and I can’t really get into the game. Apparently, my daughter now feels the same way. She lit up like a light blub when she got to touch the giant Fire banner.

He’s Baaaack!
October 8, 2010, 7:34 pm
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Yes, it’s taken me this long to cool down about Bradley getting rehired to coach US Soccer for another World Cup. I’ve liked Bradley as a coach. I think he’s done some great things. But I think the team we took to South Africa could have gone further in the tournament save a few critical coaching decisions.

But more than that, I feel like I’m facing frustration with the American Soccer system. I’m tired of being satisfied with getting out of the group. It left me wanting so much more. I know we can do better. But it’s like parenting: how do you tell US Soccer that you’re happy with their B+ performance, but a little disappointed because you think they were capable of an A?

And what’s with this buzz that America should have an American coach? I don’t get that. We are an immigrant nation. Does the coach have to be American born? American born parents? What about Klinsman, who lives in the US but isn’t a citizen?

I want a coach that understands the US game through and through, but also has the goods to take us to the next level. I want a coach that inspires me. Someone that makes me feel like getting TST7s* isn’t crazy. Bradley, show me that you’re that guy and I’ll continue to follow you around the world. Well, who are we kidding. I’ll follow no matter what. Show me that you’re the guy I’ll follow AND write nice things about.

*TST7 is the FIFA abbreviation for Team Specific Tickets to follow your team to the World Cup Final.

Waking up from Post World Cup Coma
October 8, 2010, 7:11 pm
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I know. There’s been plenty to talk about. We have a new coach contract, my 3 year old has learn to lead chants at the American Outlaws watch parties, and then there’s the new qualifying for Concacaf to discuss.

But real life of work, parenting, roller derby and the rest can get pretty distracting. Soccer is always on my mind, but not always at my keyboard.

Yet here I am sitting in traffic outside Toyota Park on my way into Fire vs Crew as the warm up for US vs Poland. I don’t watch a lot of club soccer, but this WC cycle (2014) my goal is to get more involved in the club game and where everyday soccer in America is these days.

These two games are the first we’ve been able to take the kids to in a while, which is always exciting. Hopefully we’ll get to see a few of our travel buddies from American Outlaws and Sam’s Army. We’ll see how it goes: Cap 27 for me, #26 for my husband,#14 for the 8 year old, and #4 for the 3 year old up tomorrow night. As for tonight, we’ll see how life in Section 8 is.

“You take your kids to soccer games? Aren’t you worried about the hooligans?” “No, we are the hooligans.”

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