Friday, June 02, 2006

The World Cup is Coming...

And I can't wait. I don't think folks really understand how much I love football. I say football, not to be smarmy or because "soccer" sounds so ridiculous, but because I love football. College football, NFL, and yes, the original football (soccer). And with games beginning at 6am, my wife knows to not mess with me during this period. Who do I root for? I have to go in order:

1. Team: England/USA... For the twenty or so years that I've watched soccer, USA were crap. Utter crap. I could have given a better performance than some of the US players in the past. So England developed as my surrogate team. I've been a Manchester United fanatic since '92, and so it's the league I know. I can tell you about clubs in the Football Conference, as well as players in the English Premiere League. The style of play is appealing to the American sensibility of toughness, attack, attack, attack, and heart. So I will root for England too. But now, the USA has finally developed players who can compete on the international stage. Their manager, Bruce Arena, has put the US in the best position possible to win games. And even though I'm not big on the counterattack strategy, it works for the US. So I will root for the Red, White and Blue too.

2. Players: I root for all Manchester United players, no matter which country they play for. Ji-Sung Park for South Korea. Gabriel Heinze for Argentina. Gary Neville, Wayne Rooney, Rio (why the hell do you get nutmegged all of the time) Ferdinand for England. Ruud Van Niesteroy (sp) for Holland. Cristiano Ronaldo for Portugal. All of them, and anyone I missed. Next, I root for the playmakers, no matter their club team: Ronaldiniho, Thierry Henry (my favorite non-Red Devil player), Ronaldo (if he's not fat), Steven Gerrard (although I hate that he plays for Liverpool and he can never be bought by United).

3. The Underdog: I used to always root for Nigeria because they just didn't give a damn about defense. They'd let in 4 goals and score 5. That's my type of underdog team! This year, my underdog team are the Ivory Coast. Didier Drogba (sp) is someone I can't stand when he plays for Chelsea, but I'd like to see the Ivory Coast get some good news.

If you've always wanted to "get into" soccer, but never could, watch the World Cup. Most of the international stars will be there. Just wake up and enjoy!

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