Futbol Fever

World Cup 2010 has taken over the globe. The sounds of vuvuzelas are ringing in everyone’s ears, the roar of ‘GOOOALLLL!!’ induces screams and the final blows of the whistles have caused both excitement and disappointment.

The number of controversial stories is endless. The defending champions, Italy, did not advance past the first round. For the first time in over 35 years, France saw one of their players be kicked off the team which caused the entire team to walk out of practice in protest – all while, not winning one game. BUT, the biggest story in the States has to be the play of the U.S. National team as well as the terrible officiating that nearly led to an early exit.

The boys in red, white and blue will face Ghana in the second round tomorrow, Saturday June 26th at 2:30 EDT. Here’s hoping that the rest of the World Cup will be a little smoother than the group stage. In two (2) of their three (3) games, the U.S. team was either tied or losing late in the game.

We, because everyone feels like they’re a member of the team, overcame two VERY questionable and controversial calls by referees in order to advance. The resiliency the U.S. team exhibited after nearly being eliminated truly ignited the country. Maybe the U.S. team could be this year’s Cinderella story! At least that is what sports blogs, television shows and newspapers are saying…

It seems like everyone jumped on the soccer bandwagon right after Landon Donovan deflected that rebound in the 91st minute of the game against Algeria for the WIN. It seems like people are anticipating U.S. sports fans to embrace soccer the way the rest of the world does. However, my feeling is that once the U.S. is eliminated people will forget about ‘futbol’ as quickly as a penalty kick is shot.

As someone who played soccer her whole life, I know what a great sport soccer is and the great excitement in supporting a team. June and July make up the low point of the year for American sports. Why not show some national PRIDE and root for the home team? The combination of patriotism, resiliency and controversy thus far has led to thousands of new fans. Hopefully stadiums will see an increase in ticket sales well past the end of the World Cup. I am skeptical, but definitely wishful that this futbol fever holds.

Written by Rachel Licciardi

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