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Sam’s Army: Embracing World “Football”

In the 2014 World Cup, American fans--called "Sam's Army"--dressed up elaborately to support their team!
In the 2014 World Cup, American fans--called "Sam's Army"--dressed up elaborately to support their team!
Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images

Football is the sport of the world. Bizarrely referred to as “soccer” in the United States, real football (soccer) is a sport that is regaled across several continents. For generations Europeans, South Americans and even Asians have embraced this exciting 90-minute game, but Americans have remained largely indifferent to it—even while hordes of American children play soccer as a team activity/gym class requirement.

Even though the USA was defeated in the second round of the World Cup, goalkeeper Tim Howard gained worldwide admiration for his 16 saves!
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Although Americans are woefully lacking in their adoration of football when compared to the rest of the world, the most recent World Cup (still going on at present) had more American fans participating in the event than ever before. This is a hopeful sign that the United States might, finally, be joining the rest of the world in the “football fever” that takes over, especially every four years in the event of the World Cup.

The 2014 World Cup, hosted in Brazil, was special to many Americans who grew up playing the sport and have now reached adulthood. Furthermore, the United States team played quite well and even managed to make it into the “second round” before being eliminated by Belgium but not before the incredible U.S. goalkeeper, Tim Howard, managed to make 16 incredible saves—more than any other goalkeeper in a single game since 1966! Even though America was eliminated, they went out in style and earned the respect of people from all over the world.

One of the most encouraging signs to indicate Americans growing adoration of this sport was the presence of “Sam’s Army.” In both Brazilian stadiums and all over public parks, grills and bars across the United States, scores of people dressed up in red, white and blue to root on their team. These dedicated legions of American fans call themselves “Sam’s Army” which fits into the football fan lingo from around the world (other examples include Belgium’s “Red Devils”—a name shared with South Korea’s fans—and Denmark’s “Roligans”).

Although America failed to make it past the second round in the 2014 World Cup, the future of the sport is bright as more and more youngsters seek careers are professional footballers. This widens the window of opportunity for the United States team come 2018.

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