June 17, 2002

SOCCER COVERAGE isn’t really my thing, especially when it provides no opportunities to twit the French. But reader Jorge Schmidt sends this interesting observation:

I’ve been following the latest World Cup games pretty closely on Spanish-language TV and radio in Miami, and I’d like to share the following observation:

TV and radio commentators, and callers to radio shows, call the American team “el equipo de todos nosotros” (the team of all of us). This morning, as I was driving home after the U.S. – Mexico game, there were calls from Colombians, Argentineans, Brazilians, Central-Americans of various stripes, all rooting for the U.S. team, and all expressing the same sentiment, that the American team was the “home” team. This is a marked departure from previous World Cups, where latins tended to stick with other latin countries if their own didn’t make the cut. I had never heard this expression, “the team of all of us,” before this World Cup.

As one caller explained, they feel this way not just because the U.S. is the country that received them, but also because many have U.S.-born children, and they want to teach their children to root for their country. Who would have thought of soccer as a force of acculturation and assimilation?

Hmm. Sounds good to me. And who know? Perhaps the U.S. will exert a quieting influence on soccer hooliganism.

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