A ussoccer.com Editorial
An Historic Effort from the Stands
June 27, 2006
In the years to come, the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany will be seen as the point at which the U.S. Soccer fan emerged as a force on the international soccer scene.
In an unparalleled show of support for the U.S. National Team, fans from around the United States made their presence felt in ways never before seen or heard. In Germany, the U.S. fans staked their claim amongst those supporters of traditional soccer powers, and for those who witnessed the comprehensively positive effects of this fan support, it was a truly inspiring and gratifying experience.
To all the fans who participated in the experience of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, U.S. Soccer offers an overwhelming “Thank You.” We understand the great effort and sacrifice it required for the thousands of you who traveled to Germany to get off from work, use your vacation time, and travel across continents to be there and root on the USA. We truly appreciate the effort.
Certainly this support will be remembered fondly by all those who witnessed it, and will serve as a benchmark for support of the national team in the future.
Specifically, those fans that traveled to Germany did more than hold their own with the USA’s World Cup opponents. By no means should international fandom be viewed as a type of competition, as it is obviously more important to recognize the spirit of collectiveness and camaraderie that an event like the FIFA World Cup creates. However, it cannot go unnoticed that the fans of the U.S. National Team contributed an unprecedented amount of support to this event and spectacle.
During the USA’s three games, the Star Spangled Banner was belted out passionately by those in attendance. Impressively, the singing of the national anthem at each game was louder and more vociferous than the match before. By the time the Ghana game was beginning, it seemed as if everyone in the Frankenstadion in Nuremburg was singing along.
Moreover, the American fans in Germany exhibited an element of diversity that was as yet unseen in American soccer history. A variety of outfits, colors and chants punctuated the U.S. presence in Germany. No longer did it seem that fans were reverting to the rote simplicity of the ubiquitous “U-S-A” chant. Rather, an unparalleled amount of creativity oozed out of the American fan base to complement the amazing numbers in the stands.
Nowhere was this more apparent than in the game against Italy at Fritz-Walter-Stadion in Kaiserslautern. Against a traditional soccer power whose fans have commanded the same respect as the team itself, the USA supporters refused to be overmatched. Even when the situation on the field looked increasingly dire, as the United States was reduced to nine men, the fans never gave up hope. Their passion, voices and overall enthusiasm for their team perhaps made the difference as the Americans on the field dug deep within themselves to stave off the increasingly mounting Italian attack. In the end, the U.S. held on for a 1-1 draw, and a historic point on European soil. The fans were an equal part of this history and deserve to share the glory with those on the field.
In the end, to see so many dedicated U.S. Soccer supporters traveling overseas and making their presence felt in ways only dreamed about by those involved with the sport for so long in this country is simply incredible.
Thank you for your support and we will see you on the road to 2010.