Give me liberty or give me... Megan Rapinoe singing "Born In The USA" after scoring a stunner against Colombia last weekend in the World Cup in Germany. This followed the team saluting U.S. soldiers stationed in the country, who showed up to support the team in the 3-0 victory that took the USA through to the upcoming quarter-finals.
U.S. soccer is serving up some choice splashes of spontaneous patriotism not available via the country's bigger sports. Singing the national anthem at every game during the baseball, basketball and football season reduces that patriotic moment to a predictably dull whoop when "the land of the free" hits the high note. American teams versus American teams, there's little chance of USA! USA! breaking out as it did last year when Landon Donovan's last second winning goal against Algeria in the 2010 World Cup shot millions of Americans into an unselfconscious explosion of national joy. Smart, the Women's team are. Rapinoe's rendition of The Boss's classic anthem spread through the tubes of the Internet, suddenly everyone at home knew the USA was playing in the World Cup. As the team progresses, more viewers will be tuning in to witness our women winning, beating the world at the world's game. Some dour critics expressed negative comments about the team's choice of celebration -- get with it chumps -- the World Cup is all about national pride, which is not the same as political nationalism. That's what makes it so damn powerful and popular!
By contrast, the Men's team endured the unsettling reality of facing Mexico in last week's Gold Cup Final in Los Angeles with 80,000 Mexican fans cheering on El Tri. Outnumbered 8 to 1 in the stadium -- why so few American fans? This was a big game, an important beacon. Few soccer teams endure such a fate -- the home game that feels like playing away. It is not good for morale, or results. Mexico won.
So, it is high time for a national soccer stadium to be built with red, white and blue cement. A public works, patriotic project that everyone could get behind. A place for U.S. soccer to call home. Maybe New York, possibly Washington or Philadelphia, start the debate. Put an end to the endless wandering all over the country to different fields, the gypsy team. Settle our national teams down in one place and after a generation the seats will be filled with home fans drowning out the visitors. U.S. Soccer can take control of the ticket sales. Two to us, one to them. Visitors are always welcome but it is our house, our decoration, our place of pride. USA! USA! Call your senator. They buy patriotism at the right price. Winning.
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