Welcome to the refreshed Stars and Stripes FC! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card [contest rules]. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!
I’ve been a soccer fan since I was eight years old. That’s when I started playing the game competitively and I immediately fell in love with it. I was obsessed and watched matches for countless hours. I loved the English Premier League and La Liga, but as an American I felt no strong connection to any of the teams.
There was something different about watching the United States National Teams. The players were just like me. They had grown up playing youth soccer in a country dominated by football and baseball. As a child, I idolized American stars like Abby Wambach and Landon Donovan. Their skill, leadership, and patriotism were incredible.
At a time when soccer is becoming increasingly corporate, international soccer represents a purer form of the game. U.S. players aren’t motivated by money, they’re on the field because of national pride. Money can be used to improve youth development, but in the end it can’t buy national team players.
Watching tens of thousands of supporters sing the national anthem before a USMNT or USWNT game is incredibly powerful. Whatever stadium the U.S. is playing at fans are always loud and passionate, unlike at many European clubs where wealthy season ticket holders have ruined the atmospheres.
The USMNT and USWNT have given me some of my favorite soccer memories. The victory against #1 ranked Spain in the semi-finals of the 2009 Confederations Cup was incredible. Watching the women’s team dismantle Japan in the 2015 World Cup was another amazing moment. I’ll never forget those games.
Now as I have grown older, I have become an even bigger fan because of the incredible work U.S. soccer players do off the field. In addition to charitable works performed by individual players, both the men and women’s team frequently auction off jerseys for good causes. Beneficiaries of these auctions have included the American Red Cross, Girls inc. (“a national organization that inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold through direct service and advocacy”), and veterans organization Team Red, White, and Blue.
I love the U.S. National Teams not only because of the soccer they play, but also because of the way they bring people together. The teams represent every American. Regardless of socioeconomic status, race, religion, or sexual orientation all American soccer fans can get behind the national team. Fans of rival clubs can set aside their differences and come together to support the U.S. The U.S. National Teams embody some of the greatest qualities of America: dedication, diversity, passion, and a never say die attitude.
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