Soccer….Family Style

Soccerific!! USMNT WCQ, Euro2012, and Old Friends
June 8, 2012, 12:36 pm
Filed under: FIFA, International Soccer, US Soccer

Since 1994, I’ve counted my life in four year increments. In some ways, everything in my life is planned around the ebb and flow of the World Cup schedule. The qualifying build up, the anticipation of ticketing phases, the glorious tournament, and then the two years of darkness, when we have nothing but Gold Cup, friendlies, and Olympics (or not) to enjoy with our National Teams. So it’s pretty difficult to contain my excitement with the soccer on tap today.

As my friend Monty posted on Facebook this morning, “There are some great days that bring excitement each and every year. Then there are days like today that only happen once every four years … the first day of qualifying for the (2014) World Cup in Brazil starts today.” For people like us, the wait for “games that count” is over. The USMNT Road to Brasil starts tonight here in Tampa with our game vs. Antigua and Barbuda. It doesn’t really matter to me that this should be an easy game for the US, and we’re probably going to get soaked in the rain tonight…just so long as the wait is over.

As if that’s not enough, today also kicks off Euro 2012, with the host Poland playing Greece in Warsaw, which means a month of excellent European soccer. It’s a tournament second only to the World Cup in excitement….as I’m writing this, it’s 10v10, missed PK, tied game….it does not suck.

And who better to spend it with than my soccer family? I am staying with Andy Gustafson, one of the guys I met in Korea 10 years ago. Also with us is Jon Strauss, another World Cup traveler, and meeting us later, Rishi Bagel, who not only hits the World Cups, but joined us at Azteca for the game in 2005. For me, this is like a family reunion all wrapped up in soccer. It’s going to be a beautiful weekend, no matter what the weather.

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