I've said it before... I don't follow soccer on a regular basis. But over the years, I've slowly warmed up to the sport.
Last summer... I dove head first into the 2010 FIFA Men's World Cup hoopla, cheering for Team USA and the Blue Samurai of Japan. Sadly... both teams were eliminated in the 2nd round.
But that didn't stop me from watching the rest of the tournament, which ended in Spain winning. By the time the tournament was over, I had learned several key names... a few rules... and even discovered my favorite player: Keisuke Honda.
But today's post isn't about him... or men's soccer. It's all about the ladies of futbol.
On Sunday... the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup will kick off in Germany. And just like last year... I'll be pulling for The Yanks and Nadeshiko Japan.
I'm a little embarrassed to say this... but I've been a fan of women's soccer longer than men's soccer. I've been living in theBay Area my whole life... and in 1999... the Women's World Cup craze arrived. Several games were played in Spartan Stadium and the semi-final game involving Team USA was played at Stanford Stadium, so it was impossible not to get swept up in the hype.
The USA vs. Brazil semi-final game in Palo Alto was the first time I ever watched a full soccer game. But that's not the game most Americans remember.
It's the USA vs. China Final's match that most people remember... and more specifically... it's Brandi Chastain scoring the deciding goal in the penalty shootout to win the game for Team USA, then pulling off her jersey in celebration. And although she was already a huge name in soccer... this event made her a household name in the states. The memory was captured on numerous magazines and newspapers throughout the country, including Sports Illustrated:
But... I actually was a fan of Brandi... long before that historic day. I went to high school with her brother Chad and remember seeing her name in San Jose Mercury News since her days at Santa Clara.
Sadly... my only soccer card of her is this 1999 Roox U.S. Women's Soccer card that I picked up a few months after they won the cup.
Then a couple of months ago, I picked up this gem:
It's an autographed Nike soccer ball authenticated by Steiner Sports. If you follow my blog, you might remember my Ryan Miller puck purchase in April. It was part of a 3 autographs for $99 promotion. Well... this Brandi Chastain autograph was the second item in the deal.
I'm currently looking for a reasonably priced soccer ball display, so I can put it up on one of my bookshelves in my office.
Okay... moving on to the contest. Here is today's Question of the Day:
Brandi Chastain... along with James Jones (of the Green Bay Packers), Dave Stieb (former pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays), Andre Carter (of the Washington Redskins), and Mark Grieb (of the San Jose Sabercats) are all hometown heroes.
Who are some of your hometown heroes?
Oh... and I almost forgot. I promised to add another prize this week... and here's what I have for you guys.
It's a complete set of 1999 Roox U.S. Women's Soccer cards. The set contains 19 cards and features Mia Hamm, Brianna Scurry, Kristine Lilly, Julie Foudy and of course... Chastain. I'm sure it's not for everyone... but the worst case scenario... you use it as trade bait.
I'll cut off the comments for Monday's post right now... but I won't have a contest update until later on this evening.
Well... I'm off to work. Happy hump day and sayonara!