It's been 15 years since I've seen the U.S. Men's National Soccer team play a World Cup qualifier, in Columbus, against Mexico.
This was that game:
What I remember the most, other than the fact that we won 2-0 (and that it may have been the coldest I have ever been in my entire life), from "La Guerra Fria" was Tony Sanneh coming out for final pre-game warm-ups in shirt sleeves, while the Mexican team huddled in its dressing room until, literally, seconds remained before the whistle blew to start the match.
A lot has changed since then. Three more dos a cero wins in World Cup qualifiers in Columbus. And an election, just this week, that has given me pause to reflect on what being a supporter of the United States -- in the broadest sense, and in the context of its soccer teams -- means.
This is what I've decided:
I am still an American, as are the millions who voted, as was their right, for the candidate I did not support. As are the millions who did not vote (although maybe a little less love for them as far as I'm concerned).
I still am proud to be an American.
I will still loudly and full-heartedly cheer and sing and probably yell at the officials in support of my team and my country.
Most importantly, I will cheer for a team that is comprised of African Americans, German African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Jewish Americans, Icelandic Americans, Asian Americans, Croatian Americans, and, yes, some Anglo Americans too.
I will respect our brothers from Mexico for their right to cheer on their team, although I will desperately hope that their team fails.
This is what my America looks like:
|photo from mlssoccer.com|