Somehow, I managed to avoid the “I Believe” commercials.
It wasn’t by design. The spots are everywhere, after all, promoting the World Cup and Team USA. One features fans doing the chant that has become the U.S. rallying cry. Another spotlights stars of both sport and screen building up the chant.
“I believe that.”
“I believe that we.”
“I believe that we will win!”
As the U.S. prepares to face Belgium in a win-or-go-home match, I went searching for those spots that I’d somehow missed. And as the images of players and fans and matches and highlights rolled, I realized something.
You should, too.
Now, this isn’t intended to be some sort of guilt trip. Some soccer fans in this country — you know who you are — believe everyone should be a soccer fan. I don’t see it that way. Every football fan isn’t a basketball fan, and every basketball fan isn’t a baseball fan, so it’s totally understandable that some sports fans wouldn’t be soccer fans. If you’ve really and truly given soccer a try and you don’t like it, that’s fine.
But if you haven’t, I encourage you to join the fun. There’s never been a better time.
This American team has a lot to love.
For starters, these guys are tough. I believe it’s a known fact that every one of them has broken their nose this World Cup. And they played Portugal in the middle of the Amazon rain forest while being chased by jaguars. And then they played Germany in a rainstorm so heavy that they were under a sharknado warning.
Clint Dempsey is the captain, and he’s no nonsense. He looks like he eats sharp metal shards for breakfast — and likes it. He scored a goal off his chest earlier this World Cup. I like to think it was because of his heart.
DaMarcus Beasley is one of the veterans, but at 32, the defender still runs like a cheetah. It’s something to see.
Jermaine Jones is an enforcer. Other countries don’t like him, which makes him super cool.
Tim Howard is the elder statesman of the team, but the goalie has reflexes that would make Russell Westbrook jealous.
There’s even a player with Oklahoma connections. Reserve forward Chris Wondolowski is a registered member of the Kiowa Tribe. His grandparents live in Lawton.
Wondolowski isn’t the only player with an interesting background on this team. Several players are dual nationals, guys who could’ve chosen to play for other nations but picked the U.S. instead. There are five German-Americans, one Mexican-American and one Norweigan-American. There’s even a guy from Iceland.