I grew up playing soccer in the western suburbs of Chicago. I vaguely recall being good at it, playing sweeper, knocking other kids down and occasionally (very rarely) the joy of converting the odd sitter. I also vaguely remember the Chicago Sting. But then things happened (as they tend to do), I moved to a part of the country where baseball/football/basketball ruled, to be around kinsmen who cared as much about soccer as they did about cricket or Australian rules. Never mind. For the next decade, soccer, for me, existed only in fragments -- as part of the Olympics and occasional border clashes with El Tri at Jack Murphy Stadium.
Fast forward another ten years and soccer is no longer fragments. I remain a diehard fan of the Cubs, Bears, and Bulls, but I am also a D.C. United season ticket holder. I make sure that I drop by the 4,000 seater where the men and women of Keflavik IF ply their trade and the training ground where Hearts of Oak refine their craft when the opportunity presents itself. I am now more interested in why Cienciano is revered in Peru than in the historical significance of Machu Picchu. I have become fanatical about something that an American should not be fanatical about: the world’s game.