American Pride

I have been a soccer fan for going on 16 years now. I (like many of my southern compatriots) didn't understand the sport and thought it was actually pretty slow and pointless. I mean come on, 0-0 is a FINAL score?!?! That can't possibly be right. But like most things in life, it becomes MUCH more interesting when you understand the rules and nuances of the sport. While in college I had the good fortune to be roommate's with a talented artist/musician/goalie who explained the rules of "the beautiful game" to me. Since then I have been a HUGE fan, particularly of the United States National Team.

However, this has not always been an easy job. While you consign yourself to the knowledge that soccer in the United States is an "up and coming" sport, you are always hoping for the team that breaks through the barrier. Well, this year's team could just be that team. Usually, the U.S. team plays well for part of a game or they play well for one game but not the next. Or they make their way into a tournament and just do horribly the entire tournament. But this team is different. They play like they know what they're doing. Every time. (Okay, they sometimes take a bit to warm up to the game but they get there.) I have not been disappointed in their play this World Cup. Not once.

Which brings us to Game 2 against Slovenia. Not enough that they finish up a masterful comeback from a 2-0 deficit. Not enough that they did not give up. They WON the game. On a brilliant cross from Landon Donovan, Maurice Edu jammed home the winning goal. Except they didn't.

Everyone who follows the game knows what happened (or more importantly, what DIDN'T happen). Here is my take on it...



Take what you will from this. Do I think that it was a referee who had placed a bet on the game AGAINST the U.S. taking a victory? Do I take it as a vast conspiracy of FIFA who dislike the idea of such a "non-futbol" country as the United States advancing in the tournament? Or do I take it as a simple mistake by a referee who might have been a little in over his head? (Okay, for the record I definitely do NOT take it to be the last one.)

I am so proud of our boys. If they were to be knocked out of the World Cup in the first round I will be just as proud of them. They have done everything in their power to win. And to them, I say "thank you" for helping to reignite the passions of a fan who sometimes has trouble keeping the fire going. But for everyone else in the world of soccer, I leave you with this message...

Watch out. Our boys are coming.