If you’re taking time to read my blog, you may want to know a bit about me and my fandom. Then again, you may not, but as most blogs serve to boost the ego of said blogger, and this is certainly one of those cases, I’m going to share my US Soccer Fan CV with you.
I am a fan of US Soccer. While that in no way defines me, it is a good chunk of me. I attended my first US match in 1992, a thrilling 3-1 win over Ireland. It was raining and the atmosphere was outstanding. Actually I saw a Ft Lauderdale Strikers vs Team USA match in the 80’s, but I am told that doesn’t really count. I have 43 Caps (not counting Olympics, 3; Women’s matches, a decent number; and scrimmages, a couple) and, yes, my friends and I do call them Caps. We even have a spreadsheet keeping track of all of them and I am nerdy enough to admit that I think that’s pretty cool. I was at all of the US matches at the World Cups in Korea and Germany as well as the 2003 Confederations Cup in France. I have also been to every US vs Mexico home qualifier since 1997 (5 in all, including all 4 Dos a Cero’s in Columbus.) Oh, and I attended the Olympic qualifying matches in Hershey PA leading up to the 2000 Sydney Games.
In the late 90’s and early 00’s, I did a bit of journalism, mostly as an unpaid hobby, for the love of it. I helped a good friend of mine, Mark Bushman, with his TV show, This Week in Soccer. I was featured on John Dyson’s radio show, The Soccer Show. I also wrote for a few different sites and publications, namely Jimmy LaRue’s On the Sidelines, Andy Mead’s Emerald City Gazette, as well as for Sam’s Army’s website. At the time I lived in Northern Virginia and attended, with a press pass, nearly all DC United matches and most US matches anywhere in the area.
I wrote the book, 23 Days in Korea: An American at the World Cup, in which I chronicled my amazing trip to that Cup. It was there, in Korea, where I met a number of fellow US fans who have become great friends of mine. My time in Brazil will be spent with many of them. I am grateful for their friendship, they are like another family to me. Though I don’t see them very often, we share many memories and hope for more to come. I am proud of my book, at the time I wrote it I said that doing so was the hardest thing I had ever done. Looking back at it, there are parts I regret–parts where my writing is awful, there are also some horrible typos, and for some unknown reason, I completely left out a good friend. However, there are parts of it I really love and when I look back, I am surprised that I wrote certain things, turned some cool phrases. I am honored when people tell me they have read it. Once, on a train in France, a guy seated across the aisle from my wife and I stared at me for a few minutes, then reached into his bag and pulled out my book! Just before the 2006 Cup in Germany, someone I had never met got in touch with me and said he had an extra ticket for an England match and because of the book he wanted me to take me with him (of course I took him up on it!)
I recently was able to scratch an item off the old bucket list as Maxim Magazine featured me in an article about US Fans and the American Outlaws. In the story the paid me an unbelievable compliment, one that I may have some difficulty living up to.
At the end of the day though, my being a fan isn’t about me, it’s about the team. I love supporting them during a match. I honestly believe that in soccer, such a physically demanding sport, that the fans can lift the players. They do make extra runs and go into tackles harder when they have the support of their fans. The way I see it, if they are out there busting their ass, it’s the least I can do to stand and sing/shout the whole time.
So that’s what I’m hoping to do in Brazil, lend my voice to that of my countrymen. To give our all, to leave the stadium as exhausted as the players. One team, one goal. And now for me, and hopefully you, one blog.