The World Cup group of Germany, Poland, Ghana and the United States has been characterized as the “Group of Death”. All things being equal, logic dictates that Germany and Portugal should emerge as the two teams that advance. But in soccer, the ball is round.
Portugal played pitifully against Germany and Ronaldo was missing in action. Germany looked like world class material and spanked Portugal 4-0 opening some space for the United States to advance.
In the 2006 and 2010 World Cup, Ghana had beaten America and forced them to return home prematurely. In the 2014 World Cup, Klinsman, the American coach and psychologist, convinced his players that 2014 was a new day and should produce a different outcome.
Like Usain Bolt, America was out of the blocks like a bolt of lightning and in thirty seconds, Dempsey netted to put America ahead. Ghana kept coming like waves of Chinese troops in the Korean War but Tim Howard, the American goalkeeper, kept his team in the game. The Americans were under siege but the Ghanaians did not attack with great imagination. Nonetheless, they did equalize in the latter stages of the second half. The game was deadlocked but in the eleventh hour, the American substitute, John Brooks, a central defender, scored on a corner to put America ahead 2-1. Americans in Brazil and outside of Brazil erupted with unbelievable joy.
America still has a steep mountain to climb. Portugal is wounded but still dangerous. The Americans must beat or draw with Portugal to have a chance to advance. The Gods are smiling on Jurgen Klinsman and the Americans. Twenty thousand Americans travelled to Brazil to cheer on the red, white and blue.
Hopefully, it will not be in vain but one thing is clear, soccer can no longer be marginalized as a sport in America. Donovan who was not selected by Klinsman in the 23 man squad was the American hero of the World Cup in South Africa in 2010. There are already two heroes in Brazil 2014, Clint Dempsey and John Brooks. There are two more games to play and there will be more heroes in the making.
On Tuesday June 22nd, ballers from all around the NYC soccer community gathered around the historic Met Oval Field in Maspeth to showcase their flair and skills in an exclusive 3v3 pop up event curated by Futbolr brand and Calculated Creativity. With Ligue 1 Champion and Lille forward Timothy Weah and New York Redbulls Player Kyle Duncan making a special appearance for the event as well as NJ/NY Gotham FC’s own Brianna Pinto and Jennifer Cudjoe, the event was nothing short of a star-studded cast that lit up an awe-inspiring scene with hundreds of players from all walks of life coming together to experience an event that not only highlighted the blazing swagger of the NYC futbolr community -- but also shining light on the key entities and groups that helped sponsor and promote the NYC footy scene.
The beautiful game that we cherish as futbolrs provides us with valuable lessons; sometimes, tragedies are also a part of this complex, beautiful game that we all share. And these tragedies in itself speak on a much greater narrative in regards to the way our societies and communities interact with one another. This past year we saw the movement of athletes empowering others to speak up and have a meaningful voice in social injustice, in communities, and in mental health. For the football community there is more work to be done, and the loss of Seid Visin only reinforces the amount of work that is needed to truly make this game an all-inclusive family. This week’s newsletter pays tribute to the loss of 20 year old adopted Ethiopian-Italian futbolr Seid Visin who struggled with the demons of mental illness. Taking his own life, the former Milan Primavera academy talent was a rising star in the ranks of Italian football before finally withdrawing from his dreams back in 2016-2017.