Soccer….Family Style

Ghana – The Third Time’s the Charm – The End of Suffering for US Soccer vs Ghana
June 17, 2014, 3:03 pm
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world cup fever

We beat Ghana, my son’s goal celebration went worldwide.

Last night was the perfect end to an eight year suffering. Leading up to this game, I was remembering getting eliminated by Ghana in Germany and South Africa. In Germany, I remember our daughter happily dancing around Kaela, Monty, and the rest of my soccer family as we bitterly drank our beers at a biergarten overlooking a river in Nuremburg. I was so disappointed in South Africa, knowing that we could have gone so much further in the tournament if not for a few errors in coaching the Ghana game. Now we have the coach I want, the team I want, and yes, the group I want.

We got to the stadium and found our place in the stands, so happy to have my family and our best travel buddies with us. When we scored in the first minute, I looked at Doug and screamed “this is going to be the longest 89 minutes of my life” making reference to what he screamed to me in the US vs Portugal game in 2002. No one can say it was a beautiful game, but last night, my children became real soccer fans. They no longer distract themselves for 90 minutes. Aviva was glued to the action, screaming at the referee, directing the players, and around the 75th minute grabbing me, screamed, “This is SO intense!” Raphael is only six, and he was exhausted from traveling, but he perked up when Ghana scored, and was engaged enough by the time the US went up again he is now “that kid in the goal celebration being broadcast non-stop and world-wide.”

It was deeply emotional for many of us who’ve suffered though getting sent home by Ghana twice in a row. The vindication was palpable and to share it immediately with so many of our lifelong soccer friends was amazing. But even better was having my children with me. I talked to Doug on the way home about comparing last night’s match to the US vs Portugal game in 2002. It may not have been a “shock the world” win, but watching my children fall more deeply in love with the World Cup will make this game rank pretty high in my list of best games ever. They’ve enjoyed going to games in the States, but last night, they got to experience the World Cup in person for the first time as players. I will never forget watching their transition to ultra fans.

UPDATE: I had no idea what was happening back in the States as we celebrated in Brazil. This YouTube video has clips of the Brooks goal celebration from around the USA. At 2:19, you can see my son celebrating on the big screen in Rio. Many lifelong USMNT fans were minted on that day.

We Are Going to Brazil (Right NOW!)
June 17, 2014, 10:14 am
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I can believe I’m finally sitting on a plane on my way to Brazil. We’ve been planning this trip for so many years, but in the rush to finish “Passionate Soccer Love” and get it published and into the world, I lost track of time and suddenly, the World Cup is here with all the emotion it brings with it. This will be my sixth men’s World Cup traveling with my husband, the third with our daughter (if you count her “obstructed view” seat in Korea) and my son’s first World Cup.

                Many people have asked how we can take kids to the World Cup either because of the expense, safety concerns, or just the hassle of traveling with children multiplied by the World Cup. The thing is, having a three and a half year old with us in Germany made that trip so much more than if we’d gone by ourselves. Seeing her wonderment at a foreign country was an experience I’ll never forget, even if she’s forgotten many of the trip details.

                So here we go…with our 11 year old and 6 year old to the world’s greatest sporting event. Wish us luck. 

May 28th…for decades

One day, back in 1993, I decided to make May 28th a big day in my life. I booked my wedding for May 28, 1995 and forever made this day a bigger deal than most other days of the year. I chose it because my betrothed and I were living in Iowa and marrying in New Jersey, and it allowed our friends from around the U.S. to join us for the wedding without taking any days off.

So on May 28th, 1995, I married Doug, or Mr. Tanya, as he’s known in the Twittersphere. He deserves a ton of respect, because it’s not easy being married to an outspoken woman, he he takes it all in stride (including his tongue-in-cheek internet nickname). I wasn’t a huge fan of marriage, and he’s spent the past two decades proving to me that marriage is (or can be) way cooler than many people make it out to be. We make a good team, Mr. Tanya. Thanks for rocking my world over and over.

19 years ago today I married Mr. Tanya and began our (mostly) happily ever after.

18 years ago today we bought our first house together (the first anniversary is paper, and we figured a mortgage is about the most expensive piece of paper we could buy together.

10 years ago today Doug inadvertently inspired my love for Portland Timbers.

3 years ago today we moved into the Hatton House.

1 year ago today we went to KC to watch Des Moines Menace in the Open Cup vs Sporting.

Tonight, we’re joining our friends at Menace vs Minnesota United in the Open Cup. I’m confident that my Kickstarter for Passionate Soccer Love will fund in the next 48 hours, but I hope you’ll understand why I’m doing an extra push to finish it out today. Because May 28th, it’s kinda a big deal. Thanks to everyone who has supported me on this journey. I am deeply grateful.

Here’s that link, one more time:

My Interview with Yellowcarded Podcast on Passionate Soccer Love
May 21, 2014, 9:38 am
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Tanya on YellowCarded Podcast When Stephen Brandt messaged me about coming on his podcast with Keith Kokinda, I wasn’t sure what to expect. My days recently have been spent racing from one thing to the next, and this week with the added chaos of the kids on break from school. My fears of not being able to run two thoughts together were set quickly aside, as Stephen and Keith were super easy to talk to. Check out the first 40ish minutes of the podcast above to hear more about Passionate Soccer Love (here’s that Kickstarter link, in case you haven’t backed it yet!)

You’ll hear us talk about how I got into soccer and how referee world became my slippery slope into soccer world. I tell the story about getting mugged in France 98. In the lead in, they talk about the Tom Dooley part of that story….you’ll have to read the book for that….but the story of the mugging and madcap police interview is on the podcast. We talked about the rise of soccer culture in America and the soccerification (trademark!) of American sports today. It was a great chat. Check it out.

Calling All American Outlaws! Please Help Spread the “Passionate Soccer Love” Word!

Fellow American Outlaws,

I am releasing a book about supporter culture in the U.S. at the night before the June 1 Send Off match, and I’m asking for your help getting the word out about it. In return, I have a new tool to help grow your chapter. I wrote “Passionate Soccer Love” as a memoir of my love of US Soccer and the happiness I’ve found experiencing the explosion of growth in American supporter culture. I expected it to be well loved among soccer supporters (and it has been among my chapter members who got to read the preview). What I didn’t expect is the reaction among people with no connection to soccer. You don’t need to take my word for it. I’ve posted the feedback I’ve gotten so far on the book here.

Over the past three years, I’ve read chapters of my book in different writers groups and I worked with two editors who have no connection to soccer. Almost all of my non-soccer readers have started following soccer. My 70+ year old editor with no previous interest in soccer was discussing an article he’d read about Klinsmann’s 30 man roster. He said “I don’t even fully understand the words I’m saying, but I’m REALLY interested in this World Cup.” While I wrote the book to be readable to people who don’t know soccer, I didn’t expect it to have such a powerful effect on people.

Help me share my book and I’ll help your chapter spread the love of soccer. I need Kickstarter backers (, you’ll need events after the World Cup to sustain the buzz created by the Cup. I have a couple ideas on how to make that happen:

Option 1: Have your chapter back one of the options to have me do an in-person or virtual book signing. I’ve lowered the prices on those events thanks to some private backing in an effort to make these events more reasonable.

Option 2: Share the Kickstarter with your chapter members and ask them to back the project with your chapter # tagged in the price. For instance, someone in my chapter (Des Moines #38) wanted to back at the $30 level, they would back for $30.38. I’ll do a virtual book signing for every chapter with at least 5 paper books copies backed. If you’d rather me come in person, we can work out an event for expenses only.

Option 3: You don’t need another event on your calendar, but you’re willing to share just for the good karma. Also very much appreciated.

Option 4: Reply with your better idea. I’m open to what you think works best for your chapter.

When the Kickstarter funds, I’ll do a drawing for a free signed copy among all chapters who participated as an extra thank you for your help getting the word out. I know the EASports event was great for our chapter for bringing in a whole new group of people, and I hope my book will allow having an event you can post at your local library or bookshop will do the same. If you need help writing the post or a tweet about the book, or if you have other questions, you can reach me at YourSocksHaveHoles at


Unite and Strengthen,

Tanya Keith

P.S. If you have a soccer team or other organization and you’d like to tailor an event like this for your group, please email me and we’ll get it set up!

P.P.S. Here’s a couple sample chapters for you to get you fired up

Sample Chapter 1

Sample Chapter 11

Update on Passionate Soccer Love Kickstarter
May 13, 2014, 6:36 pm
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Sample Chapter 1

REWARD TIME!! I posted an update on my Kickstarter asking for your help to reach my Mother’s Day goal of 25% funded. As of midnight on Mother’s Day, I was $55 short, but by the next morning, I’d made it, so I’m posting the promised sample chapter here as a thank you. Obviously, 25% is far from finished, so I’ve made some changes to the rewards.

THE GOOD NEWS: My friends at CJM Financial in Ankeny, Iowa made a private donation outside Kickstarter, making it possible to ship books in time for the Send Off Series game in New Jersey.

The CHALLENGE: I still need to fund my Kickstarter to launch my book tour. I’ve spent 20 years collecting these stories, 3 years writing this book, and now I want to spend my summer taking my book to the streets to share it with soccer teams and supporter clubs around the US. I want to hear your stories and share my “Passionate Soccer Love” with you! SO…I made the rewards more affordable to have me do a reading with your group and now you know the book will ship before the World Cup.

Please help spread the word about my book and my Kickstarter campaign. I really appreciate all your support.

Book Launch: “Passionate Soccer Love” is coming soon!
May 8, 2014, 8:36 am
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Cover ArtWhen I started this blog four years ago, it was to tell the story of our trip to South Africa and subsequent soccer travels. What I discovered is that I love writing these stories. Over the past four years, my family has had some experiences:

  • my husband has left a job he hated and joined a company he loves after a brief stint as a consultant
  • we bought a huge, 125 year old Victorian house and started renovating it
  • I closed my store to work full time on the house
  • one kid entered elementary school, one kid will leave it this year
  • one kid started playing soccer, the other made her first select team

It’s been a whole lot of crazy some days, and what I realized is that as crazy as it got…our soccer lives kept us going through it. The people that we’ve met at games, the crazy stories that happen at games all kept me going when things got really crazy in our personal lives. I knew I could get through any challenge putting my head down and powering through to the next soccer match. And now I’ve written a book about our experiences chasing US Soccer and how following your passion makes life pretty awesome. Here’s what people are saying about it:

Passionate Soccer Love: A Memoir of 20 Years Supporting US Soccer chronicles the travels of Tanya Keith through seven World Cups and beyond. Her stories are funny, entertaining, and will enthrall readers with her perseverance, passion, and dreams. Experience the history and camaraderie of American Soccer supporter culture as you get to know her soccer family. Through tales of soccer adventure, Ms. Keith shows how her contagious passion has paved the way for her dreams to become reality and how following your passion can bring balance between love and life, business and family.

“Tanya Keith has been traveling to U.S. soccer games since 1993, including seven World Cups, and her highly readable book is a revealing (and fun) window into the adventurous life of a hardcore U.S. fan and her family. The growth of U.S. supporter culture is one of the great stories in American sports, and Keith has been there to see it all. I couldn’t put this book down.” – Grant Wahl, Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports

“Tanya Keith is someone who lives out and embodies each of the words in the title of her book, Passionate Soccer Love — individually and collectively. With humor and grace, she weaves entertaining and heartfelt stories of her two families, the one with her husband and children, and the other her soccer family, which, like her support for the U.S. men’s national team, has no bounds. If, like her, you’ve fallen so hard and so deep for soccer, and appreciate the struggles and joys of family — on the field and off — you’ll see yourself in the pages of her book. Passionate Soccer Love is a highly worthy and recommended addition to the bookshelf of any soccer fan.”   — Jimmy LaRoue, The Daily Advance

Now I need your help:

I need to spread the word about my book. If you’re a soccer fan, this book is for you. That friend or family that can’t understand why you love soccer? It’s definitely for them. It’s for everyone that wants to learn about the joys of following your passion. Heck, here’s what my editor (who has no connection to soccer world) said:

“This is DEFINITELY a book I will recommend to others…AND Of course buy….several copies.  In fact, I believe your book is a great book for coaches who need stories for inspiration for their athletes or for head coaches who need inspiration for their assistants.  Where was your book, when I was coaching cheerleading coaches for so long…..and when I had so many assistants? I love, love, love, love and love this book.”

Here’s how you can help:

1) Help fund my Kickstarter campaign.

2) Like, share, and otherwise love on Facebook.

3) Not on Facebook? Share the website.

4) Help bloggers, soccer teams, supporter clubs, and bookstores find me and encourage them to share the book with their audience. I have sample chapters and marketing materials to send, just get me a name and an email, or better yet introduce me.

Thanks for helping to spread the word and supporting my writing!

FC København – Brøndby 2014 – TIFO is just brilliant
May 5, 2014, 3:07 pm
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I love complicated tifo. Complicated tifo of blowing things up….it’ll make your Monday.

State of the Soccer Union
February 1, 2014, 10:41 am
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USSoccer Sell outThis. US Soccer has sold out Camp Cupcake in a World Cup year. The World Cup year is significant because if you’re saving your pennies for Brazil, you’re not going to go to what is basically a preseason camp. This is the state of US Soccer today: the fan base has become so tight knit and grown so much, that peer pressure circle to go to games is that much bigger. I wasn’t going to come to LA until Megan, Colin, Amy, Robert, and of course my AO LA family started talking about coming. It didn’t hurt that temps were incessantly subzero in Iowa, but I came because I missed my soccer family. When I said I was coming, at least three more people said some version of “Well, if Tanya’s coming…”

Makes me happy to see this kind of a community happening within US Soccer. Last week I tweeted “Remember when @USSoccer was that uncool thing we did that no one understood?” Yesterday on my flight, the woman next to me said “Soccer is getting to be a big thing in the US, isn’t it?” After years of mocking, soccer finally has the critical mass to escape its nerdy beginnings, and now even Camp Cupcake won’t have tickets available at the gate on game day. What a wonderful world it is….

100 Chapters for American Outlaws
October 11, 2013, 9:48 am
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Last night, AO announced its 100th chapter at the night before party in Kansas City.  It took a moment for me to let that sink in. 12000 members in 100 chapters. When I started AO Des Moines in 2008, I didn’t expect it to be much more than the members of our family. I thought I knew everyone who cared about soccer in my city. I was shocked when we became chapter 38 in 2010. Even more stunned when I got our list recently and discovered we had over 120 members.  After the boom we experienced during the last World Cup, makes me wonder, how many chapters and members we’ll be looking at a year from now. For now, congrats all you Outlaws, and happy last home qualifier.

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