The USA aren’t going to win the World Cup in Qatar. In all chance, the U.S. received’t win a World Cup in our lifetime although I confess to secretly holding out some hope – I’ve at all times been a little bit of a dreamer.
Don’t hate us. We hope we’re incorrect. We might love to look at our boys hoist the World Cup trophy above their heads as a lot as any fan wherever.
However to like this crew — to comply with them throughout the globe — we don’t want it. It’s the journey that issues.
U.S. Soccer and its wonderful followers have walked this path collectively for greater than 20 years. We’ve had some unbelievable highs and unbelievable lows on the sphere. The USA is for probably the most half a scrappy underdog on the world stage — able to unimaginable outcomes (Italy in 2006 & England in 2010) in addition to frustratingly naïve performances.
To say our lives intertwined with U.S. Soccer can be an enormous understatement.
I’ve attended 149 USMNT matches in 18 international locations on 4 continents. So far as I do know, I’ve been to extra matches than every other member of ‘The American Outlaws’ fan group. When USA play Wales in Qatar that will likely be my one hundred and fiftieth match. I’ve attended the final 4 World Cups, together with Russia – a tragic affair with out the USA to maintain me firm.
My companion Amy has attended 108 USMNT matches. Her first-ever stay skilled soccer match was USA vs Mexico within the Estadio Azteca in 2005. Our relationship started through the 2002 World Cup. We had our first kiss whereas staying up late to look at USA vs Portugal on TV.
A number of years later, I satisfied Amy to attend her first match in Mexico Metropolis in 2005. It was a visit that modified our lives without end. We met wonderful soccer mates, and fell in love with touring to different international locations to comply with the crew.
After an extended courtship and lots of, many video games, I lastly proposed to Amy in Costa Rica, the day earlier than a USA vs Costa Rica World Cup qualifier in 2009 (and, after Amy was attacked by a jellyfish – however that’s one other story).
After getting married in 2010, our honeymoon was the World Cup in South Africa, the place our tour supplier was scammed and we had been briefly left with out lodging or transportation. Nonetheless, it was among the finest journeys of our lives, culminating with Landon Donovan’s objective in opposition to Algeria.
Then, got here Martin.
Our son, Martin, was – in fact – born on a USA vs Mexico matchday on 2nd April 2014. His first outfit was just a little U.S. soccer onesie. I used to be holding him as Michael Bradley scored through the match. My joyous shout startled him. I bear in mind him wanting up at me as if to say: ‘what’s going on?’
However 6 months after he was born, we received some devastating information. Martin was identified with an especially uncommon terminal mind situation. We had been advised Martin had weeks to months to stay.
However Martin stunned us all. He went in all places we went. Touring with us as we attended soccer video games throughout the nation and globe: Eire, England, Trinidad, Puerto Rico. The U.S. Soccer neighborhood and ‘The American Outlaws’ surrounded us with love and help.
Proper after Martin was identified, U.S. Soccer hosted us for a behind-the-scenes expertise at a recreation in Miami. We received to go to the locker room. Martin was photographed with gamers, together with Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore.
From there on out, at events the evening earlier than video games or at tailgates, our fellow followers would come by to pat Martin on the top or give him just a little kiss on the cheek. He met extra U.S. gamers than we will rely. And when he got here to the stadium with us, he at all times received the VIP therapy.
Martin died September 23, 2021. He was 7 years previous.
On the USA vs Jamaica World Cup Qualifier in Austin, in October 2021, U.S. Soccer and ‘The American Outlaws’ honored our son. They added Martin to their recreation day roster and celebrated his life before the game. We are going to without end be grateful.
Amy and I’ll be part of our crew and our mates – our adopted household of fanatics – in Qatar. We couldn’t be extra enthusiastic about this younger, gifted technology that may take to the pitch.
We wish to see wins and nice targets. We do wish to win a World Cup.
However profitable isn’t what we love most about our USA soccer crew. It’s the journey, and it’s the individuals you meet alongside the best way.
And Amy will likely be carrying her U.S. Soccer jersey with Martin’s title on the again for luck.
Go, go, USA!