The U.S. soccer world is buzzing after The Player’s Tribune published an editorial from Captain America Christian Pulisic.
Among many eye-opening quotes about the state of U.S. soccer, Pulisic paints a poignant picture of what so many supporters have been feeling since October 10. His pain is ours and vice versa.
Behind the millionaire soccer prodigy, Pulisic is the same as countless fans who eat, sleep and breathe the Red, White and Blue. In fact, he’s part of the reason Best Fans in the World exists.
He describes a memory in 2014 while watching U.S. play Ghana in the opening match of the World Cup:
I remember watching the 2014 tournament in my cousin’s basement in Virginia. We threw this big party for the first U.S. match against Ghana — and before I could even sit down with my food, I’ll never forget it: Clint made that sweet cut to the right, put the ball on his left foot, and went post-and-in.
29 seconds in, 1-0, USA.
We went crazy.
I couldn’t believe the electricity in the air after that goal. It was like the entire country was with us in that basement, running around with our hands in the air, screaming out, “Gooooooooaaaaaaaaaaal! Gooooooooaaaaaaaaal!” Just going insane.
Pulisic also understands the deeper meaning of soccer in society.
Soccer … it’s just this way of life in other countries. It’s part of the fabric of who they are, and of what they do. There’s this sense of identity that I think is baked into global soccer — that touches everyone, and connects everyone together. If your city’s club team is having success, or if your national team is having success, there’s just this amazing sense of personal pride that comes with it.
Sure, we are not Dortmund but the fan culture is growing rapidly in America. Eight years ago, Seattle was the only club we were talking about when it came to rabid supporters. Now, we have too many to count. And the world is taking notice. Pulisic, a man who regularly plays in front of the most notorious fan base in global soccer, commented on the many cities emerging on the scene.
[O]ur soccer culture in the U.S. is getting better all the time. MLS has made great strides as a league, over the last few years, and there are so many incredible American soccer markets that have emerged. You look at what they’ve built in cities like Portland and Seattle, and what they’re building in places like Atlanta and Cincinnati, and what’s happening with the movement to try to save soccer in Columbus — and it’s inspiring. And I mean, the atmosphere that we had going on that field in Orlando, in that stadium, for our qualifier against Panama … it was unlike anything that I’d ever experienced in the U.S. before.
Best Fans in the World was started because of die-hard fans like Pulisic who understand the deeper meaning of soccer. He perfectly sums it up, saying:
That’s the next big step for our country. Because that’s when soccer stops being this “cool new thing,” this novelty item that is part of our lives once every four years … and becomes something so much better than that.
It becomes part of our culture.