Gooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllllll!!!!!!! (I’ve Always Wanted To Do That…)

(This is a wee bit late… my bad.)
On Saturday, March 26th, some of the greatest footballers (read: soccer players) in the world including Messi, Di Maria, Howard and Donovan gathered in New York City (read: East Rutherford, New Jersey) for an international friendly match (read: scrimmage) between the United States of America and Argentina. Howeverrrr, this post isn’t going to be about what went on the field so much as what went on in the stands…

My trip out to the New Meadowlands Stadium was far from smooth: the line for the bus from Port Authority took more than an hour and was filled with Argentinians. As a minority in our own country, my fellow American patriots and I banded together on line to drain our domestic light beers and talk shit about Messi’s haircut. And though Argentina may have more talent when it comes to soccer, they sure as hell can’t touch Americans in getting drunk and shit-talking.

Maybe you can pull that off in Argentina but not here, buddy.

Anyways, after finally getting on a bus and encouraging the driver to initiate a semi-successful USA chant, we set off from Manhattan and in no time, the bus pulled into the New Meadowlands parking lot. Already being a bit late, my friends and I headed directly to the stadium where the first half was already under way. Upon getting to our seats, I was delighted to discover that my initial perception of an Argentina fan majority was, in fact, just a result of a small sample size – I would say that the crowd was about 65-35 in favor of the Yanks. Fantastic. Even more fantastic? Our seats were behind the northern goal on the lower level and right beside the USMNT’s out-of-control supporter section aptly named, The American Outlaws.

As you can tell from that awesome video, it got a little crazy on Saturday night. For me, personally, it was exciting to see Americans showing the kind of passion for soccer that was far less visible as recently as 5 years ago. I can confidently say after Saturday night that the same kind of excitement and obsession that swept our nation during the World Cup last summer still lingers on in the hearts of many Americans, myself included.

On a side note, it was unfortunate to see that this excitement for soccer in my fellow Americans was often directed in favor of the Argentinian national team. This phenomenon where Italian-Americans root for Italy and Latino-Americans root for the Latin teams and Americans in general root against the country in which they were born is a source of frustration for myself and many other US fans (Oh, you studied abroad in Argentina for 5 months? OK, that’s cool. The 20 years you were raised in the US gets canceled out.), but in the end, it is more important that there simply are fans in America than it is that they root for America. And despite recent setbacks such as the early-ish exit in South Africa last summer and losing out on the 2018/2022 World Cup bidding, the sort of turnout and enthusiasm that I witnessed on Saturday (as well as strong international results like the 1-1 draw in Saturday’s game) bodes well for the future of soccer in this country, and I simply cannot wait to watch our boys to play down in Brazil in 2014.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s