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Jules Valentin Checks In on Day 2 of the 2006 FIFA World Cup


Hey folks, Jules here again – it’s good to see you! Let’s get right down to business this afternoon.

It’s heeerrree! I hope that you’re ready to quit your productive life for the month of June! The World Cup is now officially upon us and it is important to note that the earth has since stopped spinning and will cease to do so for the next month (bad joke, sorry). I’ve been sitting on my green couch all day watching the games on my 27-inch TV in pure joy. The imprint of my tush is going to be permanent in the couch by the end of the week, I’m sure.

Germany and Costa Rica kicked everything off yesterday with the Germans taking a convincing 4-2 win. It was a goal-scoring extravaganza with two of the goals, in particular, that will make highlight reels for years to come – one from Lahm and one from Frings. Later that day, Ecuador handled Poland 2-0 to round out the opening day’s competition. The games have been really entertaining so far and hopefully that trend continues.

I’m not sure that most Americans really grasp just how much of a spectacle the World Cup is around the globe. During the World Cup in most of the other participating countries, stores literally close and businesses stop in support of their nation. EVERYONE watches and everyone bleeds their national colors. While the US might not be that fanatical about soccer – yet – millions of people all around the country are eagerly awaiting our kickoff on June 12 again the Czechs and our turn on the world stage.

Without question, the American media has done a phenomenal job getting everybody in the U.S. excited about the World Cup. I feel that this year in particular, America is more ready then ever to take the world by storm. Cities from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., to Walla Walla, Wash., and everywhere in between are taking part in the celebration of “The Beautiful Game.” They even had a full page feature on the World Cup in the local newspaper here in humble Winston-Salem, N.C. – now that’s something.

There has been TV commercials constantly playing on ESPN and ABC for the past couple months and even though they play the same 2 commercials 738 times a day (the Eric Cantona commercial and the “Whole New Ballgame” commercial), the networks are playing commercials in support of soccer. But the way I see it, word of mouth is still the best way to go, so go out into the world and spread the word. Get other people excited and World Cup fever can grow like a fungus. Throw a World Cup brunch party in the neighborhood with eggs benedict, chitlins, and Mimosas - just an idea.

ussoccer.com has also really stepped up it’s game as well. Not only for the World Cup, but in general with its revamped website. all_access video, audio podcasts and photo galleries are fantastic and really add to the overall fan experience.

One thing that ussoccer.com specifically has done during the World Cup is “Studio 90.” If you haven’t checked it out yet, I definitely recommend that you do. It’s pretty much the coolest thing that ussoccer.com has done to date. It’s basically an exclusive TV show featuring the MNT during their time in Germany. It has player interviews, analysis, press conferences, and special features that vary from day to day. Even though the production is an overall fantastic experience, the best part of “Studio 90” is host Neil Buethe (bee-th-ee) and his sweet sport coat/T-shirt combination and his smooth Green Bay, Wisco accent. If you’ve never seen it, you might not get that joke but check it out…it’s well worth your time!

Well, I’m going to go back out into the living room and watch the Germany/Costa Rica game again on TiVo so that’s all I’ve got for now, kids. As always, you can reach me at thevalentinchronicles@ussoccer.org if you’re inclined to do so and make sure to check back I with me within the next couple days. June 12…11:55…ESPN 2 (or Univision depending on language capabilities)…be there or be square. I can’t wait! Peace and love until next time…

-jules
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