I’ve never been all that enamored by the USMNT the Don’t Tread On Me slogan and rattlesnake graphic as it was launched by a Nike campaign and I believed it to be swiped from the US military. However, after reading up on its origins over at Founding Fathers I think it is a pretty apt rallying cry. Beyond the defiant nature of the slogan is the symbology of the snake which dates back before the American fight for independence.
According to Founding Fathers, “it was a plea for unity in defending the colonies during the French and Indian War. It played off a common superstition of the time: a snake that had been cut into pieces could come back to life if you joined the section back together before sunset.” It originally appeared in a political cartoon by Ben Franklin (picture below). Such a symbol is a great fit for US Soccer. Much like the fledgling colonies, the upstart USMNT can only defend and conquer if it unites together.
Tomorrow, the eleven must play as one with the heart and determination displayed against Spain in the Confed Cup. By sunset we’ll know if the snake that was sliced and diced 17 days ago in the Meadowlands will have joined back together.
Enjoy the game, and visit us afterward for the (hopefully happy) recap.
Just in case you aren’t fired up yet…
I got a little history lesson today when I started exploring US Soccer. I was hoping to refresh my recent history and for some “blast from the past” names of former national team members (Joe-Max Moore!), but then just kept going.
I like the game of soccer, have followed the US team (at varying levels of interest) since my childhood, been to the National Soccer Hall of Fame (when I was too young to care to read) and even attended the 1994 World Cup game versus Romania at a sweltering Rose Bowl. However, I can’t say I knew much about the US National Team’s earlier history outside of the 1950 upset of England.
The most interesting thing I learned so far was that the first hat trick in World Cup history was achieved by an American, Bert Patenaude, in the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay. This feat, however, was not officially recognized by FIFA until 2006 due to a disputed second goal in the contest. (Based on stats alone, Patenaude was a prolific player, scoring 121 goals in 125 club games over 3years.)
The 1930 World Cup Team from the United States (Bert Patenaude is third from the left in the bottom row.)
My interest has been piqued and I am looking forward to exploring more about the history of the US Soccer team; a history that goes back to 1885. If you have any recommendations for books, sites or videos, please send them my way.
(By the way, the US keeper in the 1930 World Cup wore a “newsboy” cap in goal…how cool is that?)