May 2014 Article
        Are You Ready For Some...Soccer?

 

 

By Jerome P. Santos. 

 

 

 

 

My fellow Americans, this June Brazil will host the event that has the potential to be the greatest sports experience of all time.  It is the 2014 World Cup Soccer Championship (or known throughout the rest of the world, 2014 Football World Cup Championship).  It is a sporting event that not even the Super Bowl can rival.  Now, before you get too steamed at me, let me say that I love American football.  I started playing, in my home state of New Jersey, at ten years old and continued on through college where I had an accomplished football career at Dartmouth as Captain of the team and all time tackle leader at the college.   I owe my life and career to “American” football.  So, when I say that the World Cup in Brazil has the potential to be the greatest sporting event in history, you know that I am speaking with no bias.

 

A little bit of background - The FIFA (the Fédération Internationale de Football Association) World Cup is contested every four years by the best national teams in the world.  These teams have played qualifying matches over the four years leading up to the world cup in order to make it into the group of 32 teams that will play in the World Cup championship.  

The championship has been awarded every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War. The current champion is Spain, who won the 2010 tournament in South Africa. This year, the tournament involves the top 32 teams in the world competing for the title in 12 different cities across Brazil over a period of about a month.   The 32 teams were randomly divided into eight groups of four teams each.  Two teams from each group will move on to the elimination round and play until only one team remains and is crowned champion.  The 19 past World Cup tournaments have been won by eight different national teams. Brazil has won five times, and they are the only team to have played in every tournament. The other World Cup winners are Italy, with four titles; Germany, with three titles; Argentina and Uruguay with two titles each; and England, France, and Spain, with one title each.

 

America, I write this article because I don’t want you to miss this historic sports extravaganza.  I will give you four reasons why the 2014 World Cup in Brazil could be the most exciting sporting event in history and why Americans should tune in.  

 

1. This year’s qualifying teams have some of the best football talent in decades.  There should be more goals and suspense than ever before in the history of World Cup.  

 

2. There are several very good teams who are all capable of winning the championship.  Every game will be extremely competitive and hard fought.

 

3.  Team USA is fielding it’s most talented and successful team ever and needs the support of American fans. 

 

4.  And, last but not least, the 2014 World Cup is being played in the “Mecca” of football and fun: Brazil.  This will be a great opportunity to experience a taste of Brazil where enjoying life is a way of life.

 

For us Americans, the biggest sporting event by far is the Super Bowl.  For sure, the Super Bowl is a phenomenon.  Even those who have no understanding of American football tune in to watch this grand and well organized event.  It is a star-studded week long spectacle.   The Super Bowl has an impressive 100 million viewers, the majority being in the United States.  However, the World Cup is truly a worldwide event, viewed by countries in North America, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Latin America and Africa.  The 2010 World Cup final in South Africa had over one billion viewers from all over the globe -ten times more viewers than the Super Bowl!

 

No America, you don’t want to miss this.  All games will be conveniently broadcast on American television.  The World Cup won’t return to Brazil for another generation.   Experiencing the 2014 World Cup, and especially the semifinals and finals in Brazil, will be a once in a life time opportunity.  Go to the US National Team website at http://www.ussoccer.com/ to learn more about our team.  You still have time to order an official team shirt.  Wear it with pride as you watch the action of this year’s World Cup. To the rest of the world community, enjoy the matches and we’ll see you in Brazil!