I've waited four years and the day is finally here. The World Cup kicks off in just a few hours and I can't wait. Everything is in place for an amazing tournament, and I will be glued to the whole thing. I'll be blogging about my experiences with the Cup, including my personal tour of pubs showing the games, but all I know is that I am really excited to see how my boys from Team USA will perform. If you're interested in the US National Team players, check out US Soccer's Studio 90, the most in-depth video coverage of the team with amazing behind the scenes access to the training camp and the players and coaches. Studio 90 shows just what great people the US National Team players are, low-key guys who are just itching to get on the pitch and shock the world.
Eddie Johnson and Brian McBride lead the US attack
There is something about being a US Soccer fan that makes me a little defensive. Make no mistake about it, the world is quite literally against us, taking our political triumphalism and xenophobia in international affairs and turning it into fuel against our guys on the pitch. Our allies dismiss us as inarticulate neophytes, and most nations see the chance to beat the US as a chance to upset the super power structure and claim superiority over us, if only for 90 mintues. I'm as liberal as they come, but I believe deeply in the US Men's National team and the fact that they may be the best and most articulate representative of me and my diverse, complicated country on the world stage.
When I see our team suffering abuse at the hands of foreign supporters, I stand behind them, regardless of how I feel about international relations. But secretly, deep down, I see the men's US Soccer team as one of the best ambassadors we have for the nation as I dream of it. Talented, competitive, and respectful of the game, Team USA engages the world on its own terms, plays tough, fair football, and may or may not come out as the big winner. All nations have an equal opportunity to find greatness on the pitch, they simply have to earn it. Just playing in the World Cup is a hard-earned honor among the 32 final nations, and as more and more countries learn about our soccer team, the more they come to respect us for all the right reasons. There, our opportunity is equal to that of others, and might doesn't always make right. Sometimes, the little guy can shock the world. On the pitch we are underdogs who band together to overcome obstacles. The men's US Soccer team is something of which we can all be very proud, a group of Americans who can truly show the world what we aspire to as a society-- a hard working, talented, fair minded people who want to be involved in the world as one nation among many, playing by the same rules and fighting like hell to be as good as we can be.
Oh When The Yanks, Go Marching In...The US Men's National Team Train in Hamburg, Germany
Just playing in the biggest sporting event in the world and competing hard does more for our nation's image in these times than a million hours of diplomacy ever could. I have hung my head in shame at the actions of our leaders for years now, watching superstitions erase enlightnement in our policy making, watching lie after lie lead to terrible consequences both at home and abroad. But during the World Cup, I am proud to be an American and stand behind my team. They represent the best of us, the idea of the US I want the world to see, and a chance for fans to engage supporters from around the world and change minds about the American people. It's time to show the world who we are. Let the games begin and Go USA!