Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The First Fan: How Obama Could Become the "Leader of the Free (Beer) World"

The President's posse... the Colorado Rapids.
The President welcomed the reigning Major League Soccer champions Colorado Rapids to the White House this week building on his already bulging soccer credentials. He even compared himself to Barcelona great Lionel Messi.

Even though its customary for Presidents to welcome league title holders in American sports, Barack Obama has proven to be unique in his soccer fandom from his predecessors.

The self-proclaimed "soccer dad" is often seen supporting both daughters, Malia and Sacha, from the sidelines of their respective soccer matches.

Obama is an admitted West Ham fan after a trip five years ago to London and said that he tries to watch soccer when his busy schedule allows it. Obama grew up playing loads of basketball and still does regularly on the White House court. Despite this he's been seen kicking a ball about in Brazil (still to basketball Barack) and even his wife, Michelle, has played the footie in the DC-area to help promote her anti-obesity campaign and in South Africa in support of "Grassroots Soccer".
Obama and Messi... owners of the #10 jersey

The thing we enjoyed the most from his remarks to the Rapids on Monday was the President's focus on the uniqueness of American soccer and, in some cases, the uniqueness of America as a whole. That these players, because of their modest salaries, are closer to their fans than other professional sports in the United States and that our domestic league is so diverse and representative of our nation.

From the event's transcript (video here):
But what really sets this team apart is not how they play only. It’s also why they play. They have a love for the game that has brought them together.
This team, obviously, has overcome quite a few cultural differences. This is like a mini United Nations right here. (Laughter.) You’ve got players from Argentina, England, France, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Scotland, and Senegal. In fact, I heard that the night before the championship, Kosuke Komura -- where is Kosuke? Right here. I understand that he made a very inspiring speech to the team, but it was in Japanese, so nobody really -- (laughter) -- understood what he was saying, but it was really inspirational, was what I heard. (Laughter.)

This is also a team that makes due without the high salaries and perks that some other professional sports teams enjoy. Players can sometimes actually be seen eating at local restaurants together after practice. A few guys chipped in to buy a fishing boat that they keep hidden in the stadium parking lot. (Laughter.)

But while life in the MLS isn’t always fancy, it serves to bring players closer to each other and to their fans.
"Next time let's do this watching soccer."
Beyond the realm of the beautiful game Barack Obama is also a fan of the beautiful beer. Obama just needs to meld the two together and use his powers as the "Leader of the Free World" to become the ultimate member of the Free Beer Movement family.

Right now Bill Clinton holds the title as the most distinguished FBMer on the planet (post-match South Africa beers and GoUSA Bid honorary chairman) and, also unfortunately for Obama, he also hold took his mantle as the first black president.

So President Barack Obama has just a little bit further to grow as both a beer (he drank a Bud Light at the infamous "beer summit") and American soccer fan.West Ham? Really?

Certainly he could choose an American soccer team. Chicago Fire perhaps? He's already a big White Sox fan and a long-time Chi-town resident so this shouldn't be too big of a jump. Somebody send him a scarf! We're all about newbies growing their love of the game just as long as Obama doesn't end up like the President of Bolivia.

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  1. While everything else in the story is great...and NOT to be contrary...but there is one thing I wish was different. I wish he said "Like Donovan" and not "Like Messi". It made me think of those kids that go to a USMNT match waring a Real Madrid, Argentina, Man U, etc jersey because they dont know that they have soccer stars playing in the MLS or certainly on the USMNT that they can follow. There is a lot you can say about improving the fan base for USMNT and MLS as well as player development at home....(not that big of a deal that he named Messi..and he did better then some people might when naming a great player) but when the President of the US needs to think of a great player (and he mentioned someone on the US team...then we are on the right track.


"Anyone who tells me soccer is boring, I'm going to punch them in the face."
- Former Dallas Burn (aka FC Dallas) coach Dave Dir

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