I’ve been asking my friends recently who they would choose to cheer for if their favorite teams (usually from different leagues) played each other. If the USMNT played Arsenal, who would Brewster choose? If Tottenham played Barcelona, who would Diego choose? When the US plays Brazil, who do I choose?
To most Americans, this would be an easy question to answer: support your home country. But for me it wasn’t so clear cut. I didn’t really start watching soccer until the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan. It was perfectly timed because I could sleep most the day and watch the games live during the wee small hours. But then Germany knocked USA out and Brazil went on to win it all. They were a beautiful, unstoppable team; Ronaldo won the Golden Boot and Ronaldinho was just beginning to shine.
Then I went to college, and other than a few Notre Dame games (our women’s team won the NCAA championship while I was there), I really didn’t have much exposure to the sport. That all changed when I started learning Portuguese. As it would happen, the only thing that some Brazilians talk about is futebol. Still, I might have remained a USMNT supporter if not for my stay Maceió, Brazil occuring at the same time as the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup. Brazil beat arch-rivals Argentina to win it, and the whole country seemed to
celebrate go nuts.
After that trip I began to follow soccer a bit closer, attempting to keep track of where the Brazilians were scattered and how they fared in club play. Robinho was my favorite, but I expected big things from Kaká too. I was at a wedding during the 2006 World Cup game when they lost to France in the quarterfinals, and I think it ruined the reception for me. I let soccer slip back to being slightly less important than hockey and enjoyed the Detroit Tigers’ World Series run.
Outside the odd international friendly, I haven’t watched my two favorite national teams play each other since I became a fan. Though they could’ve potentially met in the semifinals at the 2010 World Cup, both US and Brazil were eliminated earlier in the knockout stage.
So I’m left asking: who will I cheer for when it matters?
Fortunately for the Yanks, the United States Mens National Team has this guy: