What a great looking picture this is: Pablo Mastroeni, an American of Argentinian descent (and probably Sicilian too) trying to get around a Polish defender in the snow. It is awesome to play sports in snow--a ton of fun, really, when you're talking about any sport, but more for American football (the "gridiron" version), but the U.S. made the most of the situation anyway and saw Clint Dempsey score the goal that gave the U.S. a 1-0 win over Poland
Much of the lead up to this fixture from the American side talked about how the crowd in Kaiserslauten
was likely to be more pro-American than most games played on American soil. Why? The Ramstein Air Force Base
is located in Kaiserslauten, and the Germans were playing their own match in Florence, Italy, to prepare for the World Cup (where they got smoked by Italy 4-1
), so any Germans who might come out to catcall the U.S. were probably staying home to watch that debacle. Add in that the people who come to the U.S. national team games in the States are far more likely to be from the country against which the U.S. is playing (ungrateful gits that they are), and you end up with a pseudo-home game in the snow in Kaiserslauten.
Mind you, the next time the U.S. plays in Germany, the crowd won't be as friendly--the U.S. is scheduled to take on Germany in a friendly in the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund
on March 22. After that, the U.S. will take on Jamaica in Cary, North Carolina on April 11...you can even buy a ticket
to sit on the field
for that game for only $125 a pop. Better yet, you can get one of these seats, along with your very own personalized U.S. men's national team jersey, pre-game field access, and a U.S. Soccer yearbook ("and more!" promises the flyer for this deal
) for just
$400. Great deal, eh bud?
All fun aside, it would be a great change if the American national team could get support anywhere near what other countries have, but that probably isn't in the cards, and frankly may never be. The most likely people to be soccer players and fans in America are the suburban middle & upper middle classes; these folks are raised to be polite and all and to act appropriately
. In most other countries, the football/soccer fans traditionally are working class people
--you know, the ones that mortgage their houses in America to buy season tickets for the New York Jets
The other people in America who enjoy soccer/football and want to go to games are immigrants
, who likely retain their love for their old home country. But the traditional American sports fan doesn't watch soccer
--he (and traditional sports fans are still predominantly "he") watches college and pro football and baseball, maybe the NBA, maybe even a bit of hockey, but not soccer. It's sad too. As a reformed "soccer hater," I can honestly say I enjoy watching a soccer game on TV as much as most pro football games and far more than any baseball game. The Georgia Bulldogs still win out for me over soccer, but still--I'm far from typical as a result.
Perhaps having the World Cup in Germany, when most games will be on TV in the late morning and afternoon due to the time difference (as opposed to Japorea 2002, where the games started at about 4 AM Eastern, or at 6 AM if we were lucky) will help. Maybe people will surprise me and embrace the sport. I'm not holding my breath.