It’s happening. A little earlier this time around than 2006 I think.
You know you hear it.
You’re at the gym in the morning–as happened to me on Friday–and suddenly you hear a discussion. It usually goes something like this:
Mr. Too-Much-Under-Armour: “I think we can beat England.”
Mr. 1998 Kona Marathon T-Shirt: “Oh…of course…Landon Donovan killed it in English league with Everton United and Tim Howard is the best in the world. It was important for them to play together before June to develop good chemistry.”
Mr. Too-Much-Under-Armour: “I know and everyone’s going to be talking about Jozy Altidore. Remember how he demolished Spain last year all by himself?”
….and then you look down and they’re both holding identical sweat-stained copies of ESPN the Mag.
Don’t snicker and certainly don’t do the one thing that your mindwill want to compel you to do.
Don’t claim your battle-tested, world cup qualifying Yanks uber-fandom this World Cup cycle!
Don’t do what the Sports Fella (Dan at The Yanks Are Coming told me he’s called the Sports Fella now by those in the know, not the Sports Guy) did with Kevin Durant.
Heck, don’t do what TSG did in December with Alejandro Bedoya–we’ll stop that by the way.
Revel in the casual fans that are starting to pay more attention! No need to correct by adding in your expertise, games watched, or merely letting them know that Tim Howard plays for “Everton.”
In the past twelve months there has arguably been a hockey stick of “improvement” in the adoption of the game in America and in the achievement of Americans in that sport. Consider, in no specific order, the following:
• Fulhamerica, the club of Boca and McBride, will be in their first European final in their 131-year history….and joining them on the pitch will be Clint Dempsey, the first American ever in a European Cup final.
• EPL ratings on ESPN started out at a .02 way back in August with Jozy and the Tigers taking on Terry and his band of Blues. Fast-forward to April 3rd of 2010, a .04 rating for Chelsea-Manchester United absent Wayne Rooney. Triple that rating and guess what? You’re in MLB territory.
• Tiger Woods has been dethroned as Gatorade’s spokesman….in favor of Landon Donovan.
• England fans are paying attention to the Yanks…and were expecting Jozy Altidore to notch 6 to 10 goals this campaign with no service.
• US Youth Soccer, the nation’s largest youth sports organization, grew from 100,000 players in 1974 to more than 1 million in the early ’90s. Today, US Youth Soccer now stands annually at over 3.2 million players, ages 5 to 19. (Media Post)
• Red Bull Arena and Philadelphia Union.
Your comment, should you choose to engage, to Mr. Too-Much-Under-Armour: “Hey you guys should check out Fulham United and Clint Dempsey—-you know the guy in all those new advertising campaigns–on May12th. He’s the first American that will play in a European final!”
Or let them know when the next MLS game not featuring Sasha Kljestan is.
Oh, and about the only statistic not in the U.S. favor? In 2006, the United States started out as a 40-to-1 favorite to win the World Cup. This year, 66-to-1…but who really cares.
Remember, though, don’t claim’em.