Great way to start the day. #Starbucks #caramel #macchiato (at Frisco Conference Center)
Team building for #work. #TuckerRocky #gokarts (at Pole Position Raceway Frisco)
- 4 weeks ago
Let me start off with two crucial yet equally important side notes. First, I am a fan of “Die Mannschaft”. I have been since the onset of the 2010 World Cup. How I became an American fan of the German national team is another story for another day.
I also haven’t been a World Cup fan my entire life. While I’ve loved watching a good Premier League match when I can on TV for as long as I can remember, I only really got into the World Cup in 2010. Again, another story for another time.
That being said, let’s get started. The USA is a country known for its political power, massive portion sizes and obsessive following of the “big four” sports - football, basketball, baseball and hockey. International football, otherwise known as soccer in the US, has never been popular (or anywhere close) in this country. You’d be lucky to catch an occasional MLS game on some obscure ESPN or Fox Sports network at 7 a.m.
(US fans cheer on their team at the Group G match between Ghana and the United States. Image via Getty Images)
When I came home from a trip to Europe in 2010, the World Cup was just getting into its Group of 16 matches. Unlike in France and Germany, where it was easy and fun to watch any and all of the games, watching a World Cup game in the US was like pulling teeth. Even the US games were hard to find. On top of that, it seemed like I was the only person in the entire country who even remotely cared about the most important international tournament in the sport.
This year, however, it’s a completely different story. I call the sudden appearance of American fans this year the cockroach affect for one reason. The USA fans have appeared en masse due to a combination of favorable conditions, just like those little roaches we all hate.
First, the 2014 World Cup is being hosted in Brazil, which sits only an hour or two off of America’s Eastern time zone. This makes the matches a lot more accessible to American viewers, unlike the 2010 World Cup, which was hosted at a seven hour deficit in South Africa.
Second is the ever-changing demographics of our country. According to the LA Times, 17 percent of the US population is Latino, which is up from 10 percent 20 years ago. Almost every other country in the world (except Canada) has been in on the international sport for years now, so it’s no surprise that immigrants bring their sports crazes with them.
(A watch party in Chicago for the US/Portugal game. Note the guy just left of center who looks like he’s about to explode into tears. Image via Time.com)
Third, Americans are proud. If anyone says we can’t do something, you can expect the whole country to retaliate in force. At the beginning of June, US coach Jurgen Klinsmann said plain as day that the American team could not win the 2014 World Cup.
That statement was taken as an attack by every American who knew nothing about the sport. If you knew something, you would understand that what Klinsmann said was, essentially, a statement of reality. While there’s a chance that the US team could advance fairly high in the tournament, the likelihood of them actually winning the finals is pretty slim to none with powerhouse teams like the Netherlands in their way.
(US National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann wasn’t exactly the most popular coach in the country at the beginning of June. Photo via Colorado Rapids)
But, seeing as most Americans knew nothing about international football at the time (and still don’t), this was only seen as an American team coach saying that his team couldn’t win. And that, my friend, is considered treasonous in this country.
With all of those mixed together, you get the largest World Cup following this nation has ever seen. Ever. Now whether this following is for real or is just band-wagoning until the US sees their World Cup hopes end, I don’t know. I guess I’ll have to wait and find out.
- 1 month ago