If there's one thing to know about me, it's that I love Manchester United. No, I don't root for them, or follow them -- I LOVE them. It's actually kind of comical. I was never particularly fond of any sports team up until I fell in love with United. Sure, I had school spirit in high school and college and rooted for their teams when appropriate, but nothing has ever reached the kind of epic proportions that my devotion for United has. In spite of the fact that a.) United plays in a league based across an entire ocean and b.) soccer isn't the most popular of sports in the US, I have found a fervor for the boys in red that knows no bounds.
That brings me to the point of this post...the 2010 World Cup in South Africa will begin in less than three weeks. The United States Men's National Team (USMNT) is set to play their first match against jolly old England. And of course, who are some of England's players? United players! This presents somewhat of a pickle for me.
Being a United fan (a gift that keeps on giving, thanks much to my husband) has taught me to appreciate the intrinsic value & beauty of soccer itself. I love its fast-pace, the skill and fitness it requires, the whole spirit of the sport. I dream of a US that has the kind of football culture that England, Italy, Argentina -- basically every other country in the world has. It has become my mission in life to tell anyone and everyone, at every opportunity, why soccer is a superior sport. Therefore, it is my patriotic duty to change the hearts and minds of Americans - which starts with supporting the USMNT in the World Cup. Of course I must! I can't expect my fellow Americans to ever catch up with the world in terms of soccer if we don't cultivate our fledgling program.
So patriotism vs club loyalty in the World Cup. I have to admit that it will be awkward, unfamiliar, and even perverse to root against Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand from United. (I am kind of hoping to win 2-1 with Wazza scoring the only goal.) But, if I am ever to live in a United States where soccer is king, I know what I have to do...
USA! USA! USA! USA!