North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

Local Sports

June 23, 2014

Robert Carter: Admit it — you have World Cup fever, right?

COMMENTARY — I was coming out of last Monday’s Gardendale City Council meeting — so much for being just The Sports Guy anymore — and a man came up to me in the parking lot.

“How about the U.S.? Pulled it out in the last few minutes!” he said.

I had left the office at halftime of the FIFA World Cup soccer match between the United States and Ghana. A goal by Clint Dempsey in the very first minute had put the Americans ahead 1-0, and that was the last I had heard. While our men’s national team dealt with Ghana, I?waited out a extended executive session, then muddled through a fairly brief main council meeting.

But it was not the score that surprised me. It was the source of the news.

This man — and I?will keep his identity to myself, since the fact that he showed great interest in anything soccer might cause him to be ostracized by friends — was not of the age to follow the sport the world calls football, or so I thought. He would be most likely to keep keen interest in the kind of football with pads, a pointed ball and helmets. (He does that, too.)

So much for stereotypes.

Could it be that soccer, which has been billed as America’s sport of the future since the mid-1970s, has finally arrived on the national stage?

I’m still not sure, but it may finally be making headway.

Loyal readers will know that I’m a fan of the sport. Of course, there aren’t many sports that I’m not a fan of, but soccer is one of my favorites, I have always had a soft spot for games that are a bit out of the American mainstream, though, and the world’s version of football would definitely qualify as that.

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