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U.S. Fans in Germany
Chicago Sun-Times, June 25th, 2006 5:35PM
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Many of us know this already, but the rest of the U.S. is now figuring out there's nothing quite as festive as the World Cup. "I've been to almost every major sporting event in the world,'' Hank Steinbrecher, secretary general of the U.S. Soccer Federation between 1990 and 2000, tells the Chicago Sun-Times. "I've been to six World Series. I was at the Super Bowl, Daytona 500. There is no comparison. There was some great atmosphere with the Chicago Bulls, with Jordan against the Pistons. There is still no comparison. "The passion, the flags. There is nothing like it.'' It's always great to hear the converted speak. Marek Dron, who writes the article, goes through an interesting first-person account of his experiences as a U.S. fan in Germany: humiliation against the Czechs, hope against mighty Italy, and then shock, exhilaration and ultimately, despair against Ghana. The World Cup creates a truly incredible atmosphere with different sets of fans, who can at-times be hostile, coexisting in contained environments across one country. To be sure, U.S. fans cut meek-looking figures after Ghana, but even so, if there was one high-point, it was the emergence of the U.S. fans against Italy, the way the fans created a home-field advantage in Kaiserslautern. As Dron points out, "stopping traffic in a metropolitan city is quite a feat for Americans."

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