June 23, 2010

Wow. Just wow. I have never seen a sporting event that ended like that. USA was tied with Algeria 0-0 while England was leading Slovenia 1-0. With the way the group stage works at the FIFA World Cup and the tiebreaker rules that are implemented, both USA and Algeria were going to be eliminated. But in one play, one second, Team USA was launched not only into the next round, but they ended up in 1st place among their group.

That is the first time since 1930, USA’s first ever World Cup, that USA won their group. It was also the latest goal ever scored in a World Cup match. For the third game in a row, USA proved that they never give up and they play for the full game. Another team I can think of should take a page from this book *cough*San Jose Sharks*cough*. This was truly a historic game for USA and what makes it even more historic is the level of engagement with this specific team and this specific World Cup.

ESPN has already had record viewership for these USA games, but this game in particular also tipped the scales in terms of internet traffic. This game had the second most internet traffic in history with the first being the opening of this World Cup and the third (formerly second) being the 2008 Presidential Election. But that’s not all!

I decided that I wanted to buy a USA jersey or shirt before I leave for Europe in a couple of days where I plan to continue to watch USA soccer in a soccer-friendly environment. It’s too late to order anything online so I called up 4 local sports stores that I knew carried sports jerseys and shirts. I called Sports Fever at Valley Fair mall and the Stevens Creek, Valley Fair, and Blossom Hill Sports Authority locations. Sports Fever doesn’t carry anything World Cup related. Stevens Creek and Valley Fair were entirely sold out. Blossom Hill only had a couple of small jerseys left.

Never did I expect soccer jerseys to sell out in any U.S. store. This USA team seems to be strong enough to get a country that couldn’t care less for soccer to start caring. That’s pretty historic. In fact, maybe in the future, I wouldn’t have to go to Europe to enjoy a soccer-friendly environment.

(P.S. – For those of you wondering where the word soccer comes from? Well, football in other countries is officially known as Association Football. In the late 1800s England started abbreviating it to Assoc. Football and the slang for it became Soccer Football. Hence the word, soccer. It also explains why Australia and South Africa also call it soccer. Turns out the U.S. didn’t just make it up after all 😛 )


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