Every few years, whether it is the summer Olympics, the winter Olympics, or the World Cup, Americans will fall deeply and madly in love with a (relatively) unknown athlete from a sport with a (relatively) small fan base. I am talking about how Kerri Strug, Michael Phelps, Shaun White, and Abby Wambach became household names. Now Tim Howard can join in those ranks.
The U.S. may have lost to Belgium, but Howard had 16 saves throughout the march, the most ever in World Cup History. The fans (and the internet) went crazy. Suddenly #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave was trending on Twitter and (for a brief moment) Wikipedia hilariously listed him as the U.S. Secretary of Defense.
Extensive news coverage and virility of this year’s World Cup has demonstrate the sports’ potential to be lucrative here in the U.S., but why stop at potential? Hype surrounding this year’s World Cup has also brought controversy surrounding the bidding process to host the tournament to the forefront of conversation. You made have heard the claims of corruption, particularly in relation to Qatar’s bid to host the tournament in 2022. Following allegations that the committee was bribed, several other countries attempted to re-enter their names for consideration, the U.S. among them. The bidding process was not well covered up until this point, and many (including myself) were unaware that an entire committee, featuring big names like former counselor to the president, Doug Band, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is dedicated to one day bringing the tournament home.
The U.S.’ odds may not look all that promising for the 2022 bid, but there is no doubt that we’ve made great strides over the last few months. When scarce attendance and limited media coverage may have been a reason for passing over a U.S. bid in the past, these seem like unlikely issues now. How can we help? Simple. Continue to support people like Tim Howard or the next up-and-coming soccer superstar for either of our national teams. Keep the enthusiasm and patriotic pride that we saw this summer alive, and we’ll be one step closer to seeing a World Cup tournament game on our home turf.
This guest post was written and submitted by Sean J. Garrison