Oh Spain! You won 35 straight games. And Oh Spain, in the Confederation Cup, (a prelude to the World Cup, both in South Africa), you kept other teams scoreless with a passing style that wore down defenders until, lulled to sleep, they're not prepared when you strike hard and fast. Until, of course, you played the United States who matched you with defense of their own, blanking the Spanish and vaulting themselves into a final game against the powerful Brasilians.
So, who cares?
Lots of people. Stop waiting for soccer to arrive: it's already here. The USA players are all homegrown talents. If you peruse the roster, you’ll see. These are American born or American raised. You don’t get elite talent that can compete with the best in the world if soccer had not arrived long ago. These are the kids whose moms were the famous “soccer moms.” Yes, I know that they are only role players, but they stepped into the spotlight this week. You can compare this soccer to the same way U.S. hockey was, just before the historic upset of the Russians. They have the talent, they have the heart, they just have to get that big win to put them over the top. ... (continue reading)
Immigrant power is fueling the team. America is changing demographically. And while some players will come from the USA soccer suburban infrastructure, a lot of the newest immigrants already play more pick-up soccer than anyon else around.
And finally, we need to stop comparing soccer to football, basketball, or baseball – those are all “indigenous” American sports. Soccer has taken off in its own way and will continue in its own way – and that way may just happen to lead to a World Cup victory in South Africa in 2010. My older brother, the only soccer player in my immediate family said this: “I have a pet peeve about calling it soccer. We already have 'football,' but maybe in a hats-off to our Hispanic population, we should call soccer 'futbol.' " My big brother has a point. We're the only country in the world that calls it soccer. In the spirit of Team USA’s victory over Spain in its biggest international victory ever, here's my suggestion. Let's call it Futbol. That’s American for Soccer.