Off The Post is currently driving through Northern New York state, somewhere north of Saratoga Springs, on his way toward the Women’s World Cup semifinal between the USA and Germany in Montreal, which is tonight at 7:30 PM. The decision to head north from Coastal Connecticut was a last minute one, but being good patriots, your columnist and his spontaneously intrepid travel companion, Scooter (note: he is not a dog and that really is his nickname), who is driving and is usually up for anything, decided this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity not to be missed.
Indeed, OTP has been to a number of important live soccer games spanning three continents during his time, but neither he nor his travel companion has ever attended a World Cup semifinal involving their beloved home country.
Befitting the occasion, we’ve packed nothing but USA gear: two white 2014 USA men’s national team jerseys (both large), two Vineyard Vines American flag belts with navy borders, two sets of Havaianas USA flip-flops, and two 30 x 60 American flags to be worn as capes. We ultimately decided against face paint, because when you’re this far over the age of 30, painting one’s face is something you can only get away with if you’re bringing children with you -- and Scooter left his kids at home.
There is no Wi-Fi or cell service out here in the middle of the Adirondacks, but the scenery is breath-taking. Despite the pounding rain and the driver’s control of the radio yielding only disco and 80’s music, OTP is feeling good, if a little nervous, just like all those times before big games in high school and college—although every once in a while he wishes he could change the music.
To some, it might seem strange that a couple of guys are driving six hours north to Canada to watch their country play at the Women’s World Cup, but OTP doubts very much that many of these people will be dedicated readers of Soccer America, because unlike, perhaps, every other country that participated in this tournament, American soccer supporters look up to their women’s national team program.
Ever since their first World Cup triumph in China in 1991, the USA women have remained on top or thereabouts year-after-year, tournament after tournament. As anyone who closely watches this game knows, getting to the top is one thing, but staying there is that much harder, because your program has to innovate and improve every year. The fact that some 25 years later, the U.S. women have stayed at the top and could yet bring home a record third World Cup trophy, is something to be extremely proud of, and is absolutely worth driving some six hours each way for.