Wednesday, June 30, 2010

South African Stories #5: Stephen on Location

Our "Senior South African Correspondent", Stephen Craig, is on the ground in South Africa and here's his fifth and final update. Stephen is a member of American Outlaws: Austin Chapter.

This is just a short end cap that I am writing on Monday morning before work. Still jet lagged and sinuses have still not recovered from the lack of humidity, red dust and constant fires and smoke of South Africa. I am happily reunited with the family and there's nothing like three weeks away from Tori and Liam to recharge my husband and father batteries.

So lets get to it...

6/18/2010 - Algerian Awesomeness

Nice place you've got here.

We headed to the Voortrekker monument before the game in Pretoria. It was a fascinating place that I had never heard of. When the Brits ran the Afrikaners out of Cape Town they had to make the "Great Trek" to the Transvaal. It reminded me of the Mormons having to head west. Instead of Indians to fight the Afrikaners had to fight the Zulu. The trek for the Afrikaners and their settlement turned into a religious movement or manifest destiny. Thousands still gather on December 16, 1838 to celebrate the Battle of Blood River where 470 Afrikaners fought 10k Zulus and only had 3 men wounded. They think this was an act of god which at those odds they might be right! Now off to the game.

No one throws a party like an American Outlaws party.

Esfandiar joined us for the last match in Pretoria. It was a good add. Now we were 4 strong in the same section. We tried to join the American Outlaws at the bar but it was packed and after lunch we needed a buzz. We headed to the stadium and where greeted with not only Budweisers but Buds in cans that where poured into a cup. Good news is they went down fast, bad news is that tasted like they sat in the sun. As we walked around the stadium we found out they where cases and palates sitting in the sun. Nice job guys. Last good thing was since most of the the Algerian fans are Muslim they don't drink so we felt we had to drink two at a time...and we did our best.

Getting primed for the game.

What do you say about that game. We were freaking out in the stands thinking it was all over. When we scored it was pandemonium. The emotions where all over the place. Some crying and some laughing. I'm more of the laughing guy so I laughed and screamed like a crazy man. Esfan was going nuts too and with his USA wig it was cracking me up. Nigel and Kellie headed back to the bar and then the car and we followed shortly thereafter. I bet I made 10 calls back home that are going to cost me big but it had to be done.


I'll leave out most of my comments on the last game. If you don't have any real strikers with passion then we will never get out any further. Its time to find some inner city kids or some poor kids that worked their asses off to get there. This upside down way of building soccer in this country is just not going to get it done in my opinion but we will see. I'll be glad that heading to Brazil will not include a 7 hour change and a three continent jump. Start saving your money now and you can be there. I hear it over and over that people wish they could have gone. Its not that hard, just plan ahead. It is never cheap but anyone can do it. Tori and I did it right after we graduated. Its a great way to see the world, me people and other cultures and once you go to one you will go to many. See you there!

Hey! You! Take that down!

American Outlaws: Austin... see you for the Brazil game. Lets see what Coach Sweatpants has for the future of US soccer. Holden, Torres, Davies, Adu, et al will rock that shizzle!

Hope you enjoyed the ramblings,

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"How Did I Get Here?" Contest Winners

Last month we asked our readers to submit their stories of how they became soccer fans. We called the contest "How Did I Get Here?" It was hard to sort through all of the entries and choose the top stories, but we tried our best.

Thanks to all of those who submitted stories.

Here are the winners:

First Place (Winner of the Free Beer Movement T-Shirt)

Adelaide Arriaga (Dallas, TX)

At the age of four I began playing soccer with my father as coach. Even at that age I remember being pushed so hard to practice everyday and succeed. My brother who is two years younger eventually began the same process with our father, but a lot harsher.

Years would go by that we played the sport, but finally developed a love for it. As long as I can remember we also had no choice but to support the Mexican National Team. See, my father was born and raised in Mexico and would not allow his children to support the US much less watch it under his roof.

I'll never forget the day though that Mexico was playing against the US in the early 90's and our mother said enough was enough. She ran to the garage to find a small portable tv that ran off of batteries. We went into her bedroom closet and watch the USA win over Mexico. We ran out of the closet and celebrated right in front of the TV and him! After that day we never supported Mexico again.

I played up until senior year of high school, but quit after my father told me because I was a girl I would never amount to anything as a player. His hopes and dreams were invested in his son now.

Now at the age of 26 my father and I still to this day support two different teams although his heart has softened towards the USMNT. He's incrediably proud of his son and daughter who travel to support their national team all over the world and are part of the supporters group The American Outlaws.

On a club level as well we're leaders of the supporters group, El Matador, for FC Dallas which has been a very positive step for growing soccer in this country as well.

Our road hasn't been easy, but the sport has stayed with us our entire lives. We LOVE this sport more than people will ever understand.

It runs in our blood.

It's who we are.

Second Place (Winner of the American Outlaws Scarf)

Bobby Drown (Seattle, WA)

I’m a relatively recent convert to the beautiful game.

In the summer of 2006 (just prior to my second deployment to the Middle East), I went under the LASIK knife to fix my flawed vision. I was told to stay at home in my dark apartment for the next four days after the surgery. Fortunately, the World Cup was happening at the time. At first though, I was only able to listen to the announcers describe the sights of epic 1-1 draw between my beloved Yanks and the Azzurri. I was instantly hooked.

Despite the fact that my unit and I deployed during the knockout stages, I made it a priority to find an Internet café to keep myself abreast of World Cup results that year.

Over the subsequent three years I started to “branch out” and develop my appreciation for the EPL and Bundasliga. I would also catch Major League Soccer matches whenever they were on ESPN. However, my fandom reached new heights last spring.

My girlfriend grew up in Seattle. When we started dating a couple years back, she would frequently tell tales of going to Memorial Field to watch the USL Sounders. This got me more than a little jacked for the new Seattle MLS franchise.

Then March 19th, 2009 vaulted my love for the game to a borderline obsession. I watched the Seattle Sounders 3-0 victory over New York on that day in the comfort of my home. This has become a rare occurrence since then…mostly because I have tried to attend each and every home game since then.

Singing and chanting with my friends of the Emerald City Supporters in Section 119 at Qwest Field has become (by far) my favorite pastime. I spend way more time at my place of work reading various blogs (Match Fit USA & The Shin Guardian are my favorites) than I ever should be allowed to in an attempt to quench my thirst for soccer news and/or knowledge.

So here we are at the World Cup 2010. My beautiful girlfriend and I will be celebrated her birthday…at Doyle’s Public House in our hometown of Tacoma, WA…watching the Yanks and the Three Lions. I love life.

Third Place (Winner of a 10-Pack of Free Beer Movement Stickers)

Christian Lugo (Myrtle Beach, South Carolina)

Played hockey my whole life. I learned to skate before I could walk. In 8th grade I quit hockey and picked up lacrosse and ran with that into high school until my junior year. (Note: I moved from New Jersey to South Carolina before my freshman year).

News came about after my junior year that I would need to move back up to New Jersey for my senior year of high school... imagine, being the new kid, SENIOR YEAR. Needless to say when I moved back to NJ in the summer before senior year I had nothing, absolutely nothing, to do.

I found myself on my couch one day flipping through channels when I found Fox Soccer Channel. I began to watch and when school started that year I was a loner. BUT soccer became a friend and have not stopped following the game since then. For two years I have religiously followed soccer. I even slip up and call it football in conversation.

Now in college, all of my close buddies are long-time players and fans and that truly bonds us. I even play goalie for an intramural team.

I like to think that soccer has the possibilities to begin new lives, and to provide safety, and hope for the world.

That's what it has given me; something to love that is completely out of my control, and a sense of belief that all man kind is actually good at heart.

When the ball is being kicked around, whether its on the Wembley pitch or the street outside my dorm everyone is always having fun.

Honorable Mentions (Free Beer Movement sticker)

Stacey Ehmer

My father loves most sports, but hates soccer, so growing up my only experience with soccer was high school P.E. classes. At college in the summer of 2006, one of my friends, who is Croatian, had a party where we watched Croatia play Brazil (in the World Cup).

It was a revelation for me. I had no idea what was going on, or who the players were, but it was love at first sight. I watched a couple more games in the World Cup including the final.

I watched some of the Women's World Cup the next year, 2007, but after that I sort of lost interest and I was busy with school. Then last year I kept hearing that a women's league was starting up, the WPS. I started watching WPS last March and got back into soccer. After that, I started watching EPL, La Liga, MLS, and Mexican Primera Division as well.

Sometimes at work (I work at a nursing home), I will go into a Hispanic patient's room and pretend to do something and watch Mexican soccer, or some international games.

Mike Patterson (Houston, TX)

I became a soccer fan only a few years ago. I was born and raised in Houston and even as late as the 2006 World Cup did not care about a sport that I thought was inferior to football, baseball and basketball in every way in my mind.

I had a buddy who spent the entire 06WC trying to convince me to watch matches with him to no avail. When the Dynamo came to town, I thought it was cool. Good for Houston; getting a team made us a little more global of a city, but I had zero interest in the team.

My brother went to the first game and loved it. He was a soccer fan already and decided to check out the new home team. He called me the next day telling me what a great atmosphere there was and how exciting the game turned out to be. I told him it was beginners luck not understanding the legacy that the former San Jose Earthquakes had. He went to a couple other games early on and kept insisting that I come with him. He knew I was a big sports fan and figured I would get into it.

After four or five games I finally gave in and went. We stood with the Texian Army and before I ever had any idea as to what was happening on the pitch, I fell in love with the atmosphere.

I am now a season ticket holder. Have been a member of the Texian Army since 2006 and I'm an American Outlaws member, and have attended USMNT games and even started watching EPL.

A friend I met through the Dynamo and I have started a Houston based sports blog called Kategorie H which features soccer heavily. It has become an obsession. Luckily, I have a job and a wife who are understanding of the passion that has taken over and allow me to attend as many games as I do.

Now I spend my time trying to recruit my college football and baseball fan friends. I've even been using the brilliance of the Free Beer Movement to introduce them to the beautiful game.

Maybe soccer will never catch on in America. Maybe it will never take over football or basketball or baseball, but it is an amazing sport that I have learned to love.

And that's how I got here.

James Weise (Rochester, New York)

I am a general sports nut that has parents that couldn't care less about sports.

I don't really know how I started to like soccer. I remember liking Sheffield Wednesday because John Harkes played there and John was my favorite member of the USMNT at the time.

When I went to college I'd watch a lot of the games for the men's and women's teams at Clarkson.

After graduation I moved in with my dad in Rochester, NY. One day I heard that a player I knew in college had signed with the Rochester Rhinos, Mike Kirmse.

So, I started following the Rhinos because he was on the team. I thought it was cool to sit there and say, "I played indoor against Kirmse in college".

Then about five years ago one of the local soccer radio shows said that they were looking for a new "News Director". I had listened to the show for years and my wife nudged me to through my hat into the ring.

Well, they didn't get a lot of responses, so I got a shot. Five years later, I have a ton of fun little stories and I usually look forward to doing the show that focuses mainly on the Rhinos, but have had some other great guests.

My favorite interview was getting Abby Wambach live from the Women's World Cup in China a few years back when she was in the mixed zone after scoring the quarterfinal game winner versus England.

So, if volunteering for five years on a soccer radio show counts as trying to spread the word on this great game, that's what I do.

Eric V.

As most kids right of passage, I played soccer as a youth up until the fourth grade. Soccer was not something I was very interested in. Like an old friend it has crept back into my life.

Starting in during the 2002 World Cup I recall hanging out with Latino co-workers and staying up late watching matches and going into work on three hours of sleep. In 2006 I purchased my first soccer jersey (Donovan). Then one fateful Christmas my wife, when shopping, decided to purchase a Liverpool jersey for me.

From that point I started to follow Liverpool FC and became immersed in EPL football. I enjoyed seeing the success of the few US players in the EPL. Long story short I have dedicated hours watching USMNT and EPL matches.

My one jersey has grown into a wardrobe for me. I knew I had a fever for soccer when my jerseys became a staple in my wardrobe. Within the past year I got a tattoo on my calf. I'm hoping my wife will allow a US "Don't Tread on Me" snake wrapped around the soccer ball on my other calf.

I have started playing soccer again and have tried to share my passion with my friends. Though they think I'm odd for my obsession, I think they understand it. I have tried to take the premise of the "Free Beer Movement" forward in my area and formed a US vs England viewing party at a bar. Several of my friends who don't watch soccer are coming just for the beverages.

As a member of The American Outlaws and a US Supporters Club, I am hoping for a great World Cup and wishing for US to host 2018 or 2022.

So here I am...this is how I got here and this is where I am going to stay.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The American Soccer Commerical We Would Like to See (A Storyboard)

Time for a media blitz. We've got just a short window of time to exploit this media spotlight on American soccer.

Good thing we've had this awesome American soccer commercial in mothballs just waiting for an opportunity like this to make our pitch to the U.S. Soccer Federation.

We'll just sit by the phone waiting for Gulati's call.... Until then check it out.


(Voiceover... preferably Morgan Freeman, but we'd take George Clooney in a pinch):

In America we love our sports. And we love the American heroes that play these games.

We've loved the crack of the bat in big time ballparks....

Fuzzy Announcer Voice: Mantle! It's gone!

Or sandlots and street alleys....

We've loved the epic battles on the gridiron....

Fuzzy Announcer Voice: Broadway Joe... of the New York Jets!

Or the playgrounds of our nation....

We've loved the pound of the hardwood soaring to the hoop....

Fuzzy Announcer Voice: Jordan! At the buzzer! They win!

Or the same grace on the backyard blacktops....

These American sports and their American heroes personify the American spirit....




And a "never say die" attitude.

Ian Darke Voiceover: "BUT DONOVAN HAS SCORED!
Certainly through, oh! It’s incredible!
You could not write a script like this.”

Meet your new American sports heroes.

Welcome to the new American Soccer Nation.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Perspectives: A Nation of Soccer Fans

(Editor's Note: Occasionally we'll examine the state of the American soccer nation and other stories in the soccer world in a series of editorial pieces called "Perspectives". It seemed particularly important that we do so at this moment, right after the end of the U.S.'s run in the World Cup. Please leave your feedback in the comments section. )

There will be plenty of time to examine the Xs and Os of the U.S. National Team's downfall against Ghana in the Round of 16 (not here... we don't do that) and to begin the debate over the next coach of the Yanks (also not here.... we don't like fights), but in the immediate aftermath of the Americans' exit from the 2010 World Cup one thing is crystal clear; the United States of America is a nation of soccer fans.

Now we're not quite a "soccer nation" yet. That's an important distinction. In fact it's certainly possible that we never become a soccer nation (and that's fine really... just like we're not a baseball nation or football nation). But this South African odyssey for the Americans has proven that their fellow countrymen have the stomach (and nerves) to support eleven men kicking a ball about.

The YouTubes of celebrations around the nation, the massive ratings for all the U.S. group games and the match against Ghana (19 million viewers on ABC and Univision), plus the dedicated following the Nats brought to South Africa (we think an under-reported angle) proves that there is strong (and growing) following for soccer in this nation. The key understanding is that soccer is ALREADY big in the United States. Those looking for the "it" moment don't know what they're looking for because it has already happened (Jason Davis at MatchFitUSA examined something similar a few weeks back.).

Soccer fans have been living in the shadows for quite some time now and in 2010 the sun shown brightly upon them. For the better part of the last decade and a half we've been building our ranks whether nationally through supporter's groups like Sam's Army, the American Outlaws, locally with our Major League Soccer franchises, or internationally as fans wrest themselves from their slumber on Saturdays and Sunday mornings using our TVs and computers to slash the distance between them and their European clubs.

In light of the National Team's elimination from the World Cup the naysayers will, of course, have their day, but unlike the previous decade of "soccer will never become big in the United States" or "soccer is boring" cookie-cutter columns they will have to frame their arguments in a much different way. Probably a task too big for most of these dinosaurs, but a guy can wish. I won't get my hopes up though.

Honestly (without turning this editorial into media criticism), the only way the traditional old media can continue their soccer bashing is by moving to goal posts (American football metaphor! Ironic, huh?) further back to discredit soccer's growth. They'll moan that soccer hasn't arrived until the MLS does X or the National Team accomplishes Y. The reality is that this argument is old, tired, and as extinct as most of their jobs will be if they don't adapt to the new storylines in sporting culture. Anti-soccer columns will continue to be written, but they'll fall farther and farther into the margins as the landscape shifts from underneath them. As soccer becomes a regular mainstay in the American consciousness they will be forced to cover this game just as any other major sport calls for coverage within their yellowing pages.

And clearly soccer is not a "boring" sport. This has never been a valid argument; only a strawman for critics to construction to lead non-soccer fans to drink the anti-soccer haterade. As a larger and larger cross-section of American is exposed to soccer (hopefully through the power of free beer!) this empty insult loses more and more validity. Low scoring matches are not devoid of action as this charge is the worse kind of "book-cover-judging" that poor sports journalism can muster up.

The efforts of our boys in red, white, and blue, the whole rest of the lot in this year's World Cup, and, yes, even our domestic league proved time and time again that, between the whistles, soccer is an action-packed, end-to-end, heart-pounding affair. To argue otherwise is to fundamentally not understand the sport of soccer; one that is predicated upon the excitement of the anticipation of scoring and the release when it does actually happen.

This World Cup was not the "it" moment of American soccer. This sport's fans have been at the front of a quiet revolution, steadily laying a foundation for when, like this summer 2010, the upward movement of this nation's team exposed the teeming, coursing, cheering support that soccer has here, exploded out of it's long-contained box and into the mainstream. It could not be kept back. It cannot be put back away.

Soccer in American is here. And it is here to stay. Get used to it.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

The Most Interesting Man in the World

Who is the most interesting man in the world?

He has controlled Earthquakes with his mind and body.

He has made his critics eat a big shit-sandwich.

His leadership is known to bring grown men to tears.

He's so awesome there's even a female version of him.

Never has such a monotonous voice held so much emotion.

Mountains are jealous of his widow's peak.

His faith becomes OUR faith.

When put on the spot.... he makes the spot move.

He taunts his opponents..... in their own language.

He has shown to be the brightest star in the Galaxy.

He has chopped and sliced his way through a Honduran jungle.

He has been with Hollywood stars.

People have written that he looked David Beckham in the eye and told him he was rubbish.

He's been attacked by urine, vomit, voodoo dolls, and border agents and lived to tell the tale.

People have said he walked into his neighbor's house and peed on his carpet right in front of him and his friends.

He has saved his hope when hope is lost for most others.



The most interesting man in the world.

"I don't always score goals, but when I do, they are the most important goals in American soccer history."

Any others? Leave 'em in the comments section to add to this great list.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

South African Stories #4: Stephen on Location

Our "Senior South African Correspondent", Stephen Craig, is on the ground in South Africa and here's his fourth update. Stephen is a member of American Outlaws: Austin Chapter.

This country is in heat!

I have to start off with the following. This country is completely on fire all of the time. Every time we go out and about and come home there is a grass fire close to the house. Thank god all the grass is finally burned. Even when driving into Joburg or Sandton you can see this haze of grass fire smoke over everything. It is very dry here. I have to put a bottle of water next to the bed just to pull off of as the night goes on. They say about 30% humidity is not out of the ordinary this time of year. They also have a very slow fire brigade. There really is no volunteer fire department so you have to put it out your self or wait for the brigade. That could take an hour at least so by then your house could be toast.

6/19/2010 - Mmmmmm..... Moroccan!

Let’s go back a couple of days. We were pretty tired after the Slovenia game on the 18th so we didn’t get organized for quite a while. Ben and Natalie asked if we wanted to meet at a Northern African style restaurant called Moyo. We looked it up on the GPS and headed into town. When we arrived at Melrose Arch we where a little confused. We quickly called Ben and he said that there were two Moyo restaurants and one was in Melrose Arch. They turned around and we just decided to meet in the square at MA. It was a great place to hang out and the square was fantastic.

We went into Moyo and it was really quite cool. We went down 3 levels to get to our table. It was like being in a cave and a Moroccan style restaurant. It was simply beautiful. Ben had to split by six to set up for his party. We decided to pass up the party (I’m kind of glad because it went on until 5 am according to Ben) because we had to get up kind of early to head to the African market in Rosebank. We then headed out to the suburbs to meet up with Evan and Nikki. This is the young couple that Nigel, Kellie, and Esfan met while I was fighting fires a few days earlier. After much driving and many phone calls we made it to their house and had a nice braai (pronounced bry, it's a South African BBQ) and many glasses of wine. We made it home by midnight so I was glad we could get in bed at a decent hour.

6/20/10 - South African Beers and Steaks

The next day we got up bright and early and loaded into the clown car and followed Alison into town. We arrived at the African market in Rosewood and strolled around and did some shopping. This gave Kellie a little time away from the boys to do her own thing. The market was attached to a really nice mall so Nigel, Esfan and I walked around and then found a pub/restaurant for beers and wine.

The beer here is not the best in my opinion, but Ben introduced us to Hansa Marza Gold. To me it is the best beer so far. I keep trying the Windhoek, but I just don’t like it. Now the wine here is top notch. We are all slowly turning into winos. Kellie met us for lunch and we had some good food. Now here is the difference in steak in SA and in Texas. They eat a rump steak and always put a sauce on it. One of the sauces is even called Monkey Gland. Ah…no thanks.

There's a way we can fit this in the living room, right?

The meat is good but it is not marbled like a rib eye. It's not bad, its just different, and that is what its all about when you travel. After the dinner we headed back to Melrose Arch (just a really cool area) and went to the second square with a big screen. Nigel and Esfan got us seats at a restaurant called Grand Central. The table was on the second floor overlooking the square so we could watch the games and do some great people watching. Our new Mexican friends Mauricio and Diego met us as well as Nick and we all had a good time just hanging out. We all headed back to the lodge and had a pretty fun dinner seeing we were all pretty primed. Alison bought a bottle for Findlandia Vodka for the young Finnish couple and they kindly let us all take a few shots of it. By the end of the last game I was pretty bushed.

6/21/10 - Elephants!

Hanging Tusk

It was another early wake up. A large group of us headed to the Elephant sanctuary. It was pretty cool. We got to get up close and personal with them. They really let you touch and handle the animals under there constant presence. They are truly amazing but it was a little unnerving.

I’ve seen all those FOX “When Animals Attack.” I made sure Nick was going to get slammed to the ground first while I ran the other way. It was an informative tour and hands on. We checked out another market on the way home and the rest of the day we are laying low, drying out and getting a little rest.

I watched the 7-0 drumming Portugal put on North Korea. Memo to North Korea, you suck. I’ll touch base with you all about the big Algeria match. I hope to have some good photos of the Apartheid museum tomorrow soon.

Until then!

What Stephen think of the US-Slovenia ref.

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The Great Austin Beer Festival

Long time readers know that we're as serious about our soccer as we are about our beer. Every once in a while we get some pretty sweet perks that go along with the job and this weekend we're taking off our soccer hats and going solo into the beer world.

Beer enthusiasts across the country flock to beer festivals and for the first time the same town that hosts the Free Beer Movement's HQ is also hosting a HUGE beer festival.

Ladies and gentlemen.... the Great Austin Beer Festival!

On Saturday, June 26th from 4pm to 8pm Austin beer fans will be able to sample beers from OVER 40 BREWERIES from around the United States and the world. The festival is being held at the Austin Music Hall (208 Nueces Street, Austin, TX 78701).

Tickets are only $30 online and $40 at the door. A steal for four hours worth of 4oz. samples of beer!

And while it's got absolutely nothing to with soccer we certainly weren't going to pass up a great opportunity to sample some fantastic beers from award-winning breweries. We're sending our top beer taster to check out the event and report back on the Festival.

If you're in or around Austin on July 26th (after celebrating the USMNT's Round of 16 victory, of course) you need to be here.

We'll report back on all of our adventures!

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Your US - Algeria Drinking Guide


Looking for some tasty brews to saddle up with for tomorrow's massive match against Algeria! Fear not... we're here to help you through the game situation-by-situation and a beer for each. This series has been twice (England's Drink Guide and Slovenia's Drink Guide) featured on The Shin Guardian and this column was also published there on June 22.

The Free Beer Movement is back! This is our last drink guide for the World Cup–we’re just too nervous!–so hopefully we’ll break through all of your extremely lowered expectations to provide some decent alcoholic liquid refreshments as your gnash your teeth and tear the wood off the bar through the US- Algeria game on Wednesday morning.

You’ll have to forgive us for our last drink recommendations for the US-Slovenia match. We gave you all sorts of great suggestions to whet your whistle during the game, but we neglected to mention what dedicated American soccer fans should have drunk in one situation (we blame Matthew for cutting our article length… it was in there in the first draft).

Hopefully it’s not too late to go back and look at one situation and corresponding drink that was left on the editing room floor.

Situation: Our boys go two down at half, Landon Donovan burns the face of goalkeeper, the coach’s son snags a desperate equalizer, and then Maurice Edu’s game-winner is negated by a massively bad call by an over-matched ref.

MB90: "I'm drinking Sam Adams, NOT YOUR HATERADE!"

FBM RECOMMENDS: Samuel Adams “Boston” Lager (Massachusetts). A fine brew to sip on during those exciting times.

On to the next one.

Pre-Game: At this point the Free Beer Movement has resorted to not even taking off their US jersey in between matches. We’re wearing the beer that covered us from the celebration that ensued after Edu’s stricken goal as “stains-of-honor-and-suffering” to carry into this next battle.

FBM RECOMMENDATION: The US is clearly going to need to come out of the gate strong this match and so are we. Try Russian River Brewing’s “Pliny the Elder” Double India Pale Ale (California), not only for its 8.0% ABV, but because it’s named after a real guy named Pliny who first named the hops plant “Lupus salictarius,” which means “wolf amongst scrubs”. Words that we hope have meaning for today.

National Anthem: Put your hand on the shoulder of your nearest neighbor and encourage them to do the same to theirs. “Shoulder Holds Across America”!

FBM RECOMMENDS: Silence as you attempt to not break the gaze of each US player as the camera pans across them. Oh no! Here comes Coach Sweatpants! Hold it. Hold it. Damn! He won again! Those steely blue eyes and high cheek bones!

Twenty-Five Minutes In and We Haven’t Conceded the Early Goal: Alright everyone we can breathe a little bit easier now. No slashing offensive runs or long-run dipping blasts. We’ve weathered the worst.

FBM RECOMMENDS: Tear your finger nails out of the bar’s wood and trade one pale (face) for another; a “Fresh Hop” Pale Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company (Colorado).

A “JOLAZO” from Mr. Jozy Altidore: Finally the American wunder-kid gets on the big scoreboard. And what a strike!

FBM RECOMMENDS: From one bomb to another we say take hold of Southern Star’s “Bombshell” Blonde Ale (Texas).

A Foolish Card by Someone, Anyone: Well, because, frankly it hasn’t happened yet and that’s just un-American.

FBM RECOMMENDS: Stupid decisions all around for players and fans alike. Beer? Yeah I’ll have another one. Nah, whatever you’re drinking. (Waits.) Hey, thanks for the beer. Bud Light (Missouri)? Really? Alright. It WAS free.

Maurice Edu Gets the Goal He’s Had Coming: You can’t keep this guy out of the goal mouth. The Rangers mid-man bags the tally one-person-who-shall-remain-nameless (and job-less from here on out) had denied him a game earlier.

FBM RECOMMENDS: It was a rocket. You saw the red in his eyes. This leads to a bad transition…. Bear Republic Brewing Co.’s “Red Rocket” Amber Ale (California).

Gomez Kills off the Desert Foxes: Hercules deals a knock-out blow that his MMA brother would be jealous of.

FBM RECOMMENDS: You know what the desert hates? Refreshment. You know what’s refreshing? Smuttynose “Summer” Weizen. Ahhhhhh! Crisp!

DaMarcus Beasley Makes a Cameo: Party like its 2002! Run DMB has arrived to take some late game Cobi Jones-like bashing from the Algerians.

FBM RECOMMENDS: Lagunitas “Undercover Investigation Shutdown” Strong Ale (California) is the beer to have as Beas is going to need all the strength in the world shutdown the hacks and to hold the ball up near the corner flag. Just don’t get head-butted!

Victory! All hail Coach Bob Bradley for a great game plan. We’re on to the knockout rounds thanks to a solid showing by the sweatpants-ed one.

FBM RECOMMENDS: What better way to salute a dear leader (not that one… ours) than with another hefty beer honoring a leader, Avery Brewing’s “The Czar” Russian Imperial Stout (Colorado).



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