My good friend Casey Petrashek over at Iowa State sent me this incredible video that documents the way that people in bars and at viewing parties all over the United States celebrated Landon Donovan’s 91st minute winner against Algeria that put the USA through to the round of 16. As a life-long soccer fan it’s incredible for me to see the passion that this World Cup has created in this country–it was only 8 years ago that we had to buy pay-per-view games to see the World Cup; 6 years ago we had to find the most obscure channel possible for the EuroCup; and even 4 years ago many people didn’t even know the Cup was going on.
It’s an incredible moment for us lifelong fans, who for years have had to band together in small groups to even chat about this sport we love so much. Two days ago I hung out with a small group of friends, a couple of whom I’d never met before, but I instantly felt a bond with these total strangers because we could have a long, in-depth conversation about the World Cup. That was in New York City.
Bonding over soccer is something that I’m not used to in this country–it happened to me all the time when I lived in Spain, or when I’ve traveled throughout Europe and Africa, but never in this country. Until now.
So thank you, team USA for making this soccer fan feel a little more at home in both of my countries.