Wednesday, February 11, 2009

It's On

Less than 90 minutes from now (7pm on espn2), the US kicks off against Mexico in the final round of World Cup Qualifying in Columbus (much to Sven Goran Eriksson's chagrin).

As a US fan, one of the annoying things about playing Latin American opponents, like Mexico, is that games played in this country wind up feeling like road games. Lots of immigrants show up to root on their homeland, rather than their adopted home. That's one reason we're playing this game in Columbus instead of, say, Los Angeles.

Today's LA Times has an interesting column about that topic. The author is of Guatemalan ancestry, but roots for the US internationally. But he has other Latino friends that do just the opposite. It seems to come down to what caught their fancy growing up. Given that there really wasn't much to US soccer before the 1980s, it's not surprising that even second-generation immigrants keep hold of the loyalty to the mother country. Being a plain white mutt American, I never went through that process. I could root for Ireland, I guess, but that's nearly pointless.

In the end, I want to clarify that this only bothers me as a soccer fan. It's more down to being disappointed that my fellow "native" Americans haven't embraced the sport with the fervor of our immigrant communities. As an American, I think it's kind of cool - and possibly unique - that not everybody roots for the Stars and Stripes just because they live here.

Either way - Mexico goes down tonight!

1 comment:

Paul Higginbotham said...

I can see where the immigrant fans are coming from. No matter where I move in the country I'll always cheer for the Reds and Bengals (sadly) because of where I grew up.

But it was great to see all the support for the US team at the match. And what a great match it was!