Summertime Sadness: A Soccer Fan’s Lament

I don’t know about you guys, but my summer was…rubbish.

Living and growing up in England has many perks. Fish and chips, One Direction, the Queen and drinking tea are all stereotypically positive elements to life in the U.K., but sporting success is not one of them. As a country, Britain is emphatically hopeless when it comes to sport. Apart from, one minor blip during the 2012 Olympics””when we somehow managed to win a few medals thanks to a ferocious home field advantage””Great Britain has long been a country of false promises in terms of competing on the world stage.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil was my summer’s shining beacon of hope. I was beside myself with excitement, and, by all accounts, it was a fantastic tournament. Except in one specific regard: England. Every four years, my country gets ridiculously excited. We start to believe that “this could be our year” and for some reason seem to think that our team is better than Brazil’s team.

This year, we weren’t even better than Costa Rica; no offense to any of the Costa Ricans I know, but considering the money our country invests in soccer, the size of our population and our “history” (we INVENTED the game), we should have achieved better than we did. All in all, England was awful.

There was only one moment of actual English joy in the tournament for me. When Raheem Sterling appeared to have scored in the first couple of minutes against Italy, I was working in a pub in North London. Pints of beer flew everywhere, people celebrated unreservedly  and I was jumping and screaming behind the bar””until we realized the ball hadn’t gone in and the score was still 0-0. England went on to lose 2-1. Yay!

So, where do the English look for inspiration? It’s quite simple, really. Here. The United States. On a player-for-player level, England has better players than the U.S. But the U.S. was a far, far better team than England.

The American performance against Portugal was one of the best team performances of the entire tournament, and the team deserved a victory that was stolen away only by a majestic cross from the best player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Silvestre Varela’s header in the 95th minute.

The United States WILL win the World Cup within the next 30 years, based on the way the sport is growing here. The standard is only rising and the sport is only going to get bigger as America does  and better. I, for one, am delighted.

Soccer’s rise here is only good news for people like me who love the game. The U.S. was one of the highlights of the World Cup for me. I wish Tim Howard could have saved England like he did you guys…grrr .

I think I owe more than half of Trinity’s soccer team money for betting that England would go further than the U.S., so here’s hoping they’re all forgetful or will very nicely write off my debt. If they don’t, you’ll find me begging outside Mabee so that I can afford some dinner next week. And if you would like to see some good soccer (I know I would), the Trinity men’s and women’s soccer teams start their season on Friday, Aug. 29 against the College of St. Scholastica (Duluth, Minn.). We’d love your support. Welcome back, everyone. It’s going to be a good year.