I went to Germany with the excitement and the jitters of not knowing what to expect from the US soccer team. I must say though that I was full of anticipation, eager to watch them play and, as in the past, did not expected to see many American fans in the stadiums.
I come back though, absolutely thrilled with the performance of Team USA and, further, amazed at the number of American fans that cheered our team in every game.
Contrary to common believe, soccer is not an easy game. It is not enough to know how to play, have good players, know the rules and follow a well rehearsed game plan. To be a great team you need something that runs much deeper and that can’t be bought. Something each national team has to create by themselves; something that eventually becomes a permanent feature and the fabric itself of soccer history and tradition. That magic is called personality and it is what makes a team unique.
Every great team has it and diehard soccer fans can tell which national team they are watching just by the way they play. At the end of the day, soccer is all about personality.
For years I have been watching Team USA play and though it was clear that they could play the game, they were lacking that magic ingredient that gives a national team a unique personality.
Team USA had shown some sparks of personality in the 2002 World Cup but it wasn’t until the game with Italy in Germany this year that everything came together and for the first time we could see the birth of a new soccer style and personality that from now on will make Team USA absolutely unique.
A team with a beautiful personality that was certainly a pleasure to watch unfold. A personality made up of a little country, a little salsa and a little blues. A personality brought out by the passion and talent of a great player called Landon Donovan.
I can’t wait to watch Team USA play in the next world cup!