Let me start off in full disclosure by saying that I am in no way a fanatic about the sport of soccer or Football as they call it other parts of the world. In my opinion as an I feel that we have been programed to admire scoring; whether it be Baseball, American Football, or the NBA. I am aware that in baseball you can have a 1-0 game and that in American football you can win by a field goal. The thing is that in those games there is most of the time many opportunities to score. Even in tennis there is anticipation of seeing who is going to win the match point. For me watching a group of 10 or 11 men running up and down the field for 90+ minuets and not scoring is not for me. How does it make any sense that a game can end in a 0-0 tie??? What?! or that the time still ticks off as a player gets injured or the team is celebrating. I have tried to embrace soccer, I truly have, but for me as well as many other Americans it just isn’t happening. Years ago when Pele came to the U.S. the sports world said that this country would embrace soccer… didn’t happen, then the same with Beckham… Still didn’t happen.
All that being said I find myself sucked in watching the U.S. soccer team play in the World Cup. I find myself, especally at the end of the game, at the end of my seat wondering if they are going to score the winning goal. Many Americans are on the same boat as me. I guess it has to do with the playing field on which this is happening, the 2010 World Cup. It is not about one soccer team from one state going against another team in another state. This is US V. THEM; country versus country. When it comes to most Americans nothing unites them more than cheering for their country. I do feel a sense of pride when it comes to watching the U.S. win and I probably would watch much less if they weren’t in it. But it is also because they (we) are seen as underdogs and according to many in the sports nation they would not even get out of the first round. That is why during the game versus Algeria I was so nervous, and at the edge of my seat. All we needed was to score one goal . Every time it appeared that Algeria would score a goal my teeth would cringe. As time began to expire I was beginning to feel panic. I knew the ramifications if the U.S. didn’t get that goal and beat Algeria . England and Slovenia would advance and the U.S. would be eliminated. When 4 minutes of stoppage time was added I knew that this was their last opportunity to score, but felt that it was all for not and that it was time for them to go home. They had been having bad luck the entire tournament up to that point having had two previous goals disallowed, one in this game as well as one in the previous game. However in the 91 minute I felt jubilation when Landon Donovan, the U.S. team’s most well known and accomplished player in the team’s history, kicked in the game winning goal off a rebound with 3 minuets left in the game. That goal not only guaranteed that the U.S. would move on to the next round with England and that Slovenia had been eliminated it also meant that the U.S. team would finish at the top of their group. The U.S. team proved the doubters in the sports nation incorrect and made millions of Americans happy and proud. I am not sure and highly doubtful that I will watch much of soccer after the 2010 World Cup, but for now I am enjoying the ride.
The U.S. Team’s next game: Saturday June 26, 2010 at 2:30 PM on ABC