This time soccer might actually catch on in America.
I know I’ve said that before, especially when the World Cup was here in 1994 and soccer flatlined soon after.
But this time I think it’s different.
Each morning on my way to work in Manhattan I pass bars and restaurants packed to the gills with soccer supporters from every country on earth.
When the U.S. is playing the lines are out the door. Before the latest march O’Neills on Third Avenue counted 300 people waiting to get in at 7.30.a.m
Then there is the U.S. team, which matches the hype so far at least.
The last gasp goal against Algeria was on the front pages of all the newspapera . The dramatic last second winner had all the drama and hype that is needed to make an impact on the airwaves.
Suddenly soccer is sexy.
It helped that the scorer of that goal, Landon Donovan, is the one household name in America. He plays in Los Angeles, has a glamorous actress as his ex wife and is a smart intelligent guy on and off the field.
His well-publicised dispute with David Beckham when they both played for the Los Angeles Galaxy also helped his name recognition
The grandson of emigrants from Kerry has delivered on the big stage. His goal against Slovenia sparked the U.S. comeback and his goal against Algeria has saved soccer blushes.
Soccer is the only sport in the world where the U.S. are still considered underdogs, unless they are playing cricket.
So when the team is defying the odds it makes Americans feel good about themselves at a time when there is precious little else good going on.
It helps too that ESPN, the major sports station is carrying every game live.
If the United States overturn Ghana and make the quarterfinals, then expect the coverage to get even more intense.
America loves winners and the game against Algeria is already being dubbed the ‘Miracle on Grass’
That’s a take off of the famous ‘Miracle on Ice’ in 1980 when the then amateur U.S. team defeated the all-professional Russia side in the Olympics.
So go USA!