It is that time of year again. No, not for the Super Bowl. That was this weekend. Get with the program, people!
Once again, it’s time for the bigger stage. The game where teams all across the world come together to compete. Yes, ladies and gentlemen. It is time for soccer!
Several years ago, when Americans heard the word “football,” they automatically thought of the American version. FIFA, which stands for the The Fédération Internationale de Football Association, is responsible for the big men’s soccer tournament that is held every four years. The previous one, held in South Africa in 2010, was won by Spain. But, who will win this year’s tournament in Brazil? Everyone will have to wait because FIFA World Cup is June 12-July 13. Huzzah!
American’s, however, were not always as interested in the sport as they are now. But what brought on the interest? Sure, there was Brazil’s Pele. His fame made him known around the world.
But, let’s go back to the 1999 Women’s FIFA Tournament. That was the year the American women won against China. The team consisted of women that are now considered sports legends like Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain. Chastain made the news not just for the winning penalty shot at the end of the game. Her now famous—some would say infamous—picture of her celebrating while wearing just a sports bra made several magazine covers including Newsweek, Time and Sports Illustrated.
Sure, the ladies have since retired from playing the sport. But what about the men’s team? Why are so many people interested in a sport that is always dominated by countries other than America?
In 2002, the American men’s team successfully went all the way to the quarterfinals. That was a big deal because it was their best showing up until that point. But things went downhill from there when the team lost to Ghana in 2006 and again in 2010, although they finished 12th last time.
However, the USA team has another shot. Defeating Mexico helped clinch a spot in the tournament and placed the team in Group “G” which also has Portugal, Germany and…gulp…Ghana.
We will have to tune in and see happens. After so many defeats, the men’s team is due for a win. But the difference this time is that their fans, American fans, are growing. So, let’s watch in June to cheer on our team.
Let’s play some futbol!