By Shawn Muller--
(CBS) I am not a soccer fan by any means.
Actually, that is not 100% true.
I like watching the United States Men's National Team play in the World Cup and the other various international tournaments they compete in.
But if you were to ask me to watch the MLS, the English Premier League, La Liga, or any other professional soccer league, I would tell you that I have better things to watch, like paint drying, or grass growing.
Now that I think about it, I'm not really sure if it is the soccer part of the tournaments that I enjoy or if I just feel obligated to cheer on my country no matter the sport.
Anytime I am flipping through the channels, and I see the United States is playing, a feeling of pride and patriotism seems to take over my body.
Like a moth drawn to a flame, I just can't seem to turn away from the game. It's almost like I feel it's my duty, as an American citizen, to watch and support our beloved "Yanks" take the field.
Saturday was the latest chance I had to go all Paul Revere in my living room as our boys in blue faced Mexico in the Final of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
For those who are not familiar with the Gold Cup, it's a tournament held every two years that determines the soccer champion of North America, Central America, and the Caribbean.
Other than a title by Canada in 2000 (weird, eh?), the United States and Mexico have dominated the tournament, with the Americans winning four titles, and the Mexicans winning six, since the Gold Cup began in 1991.
That sixth title for the Mexican squad came on Saturday.
After trailing the United States 2-0, El Tri scored four straight goals to beat the Americans 4-2 in front of a sold out crowd at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA.
My issue with what transpired on Saturday is not with the Mexican team winning. That was an impressive comeback and a well-deserved victory by a very solid team against a United States team that's not very good.
No. My problem is with what transpired in the stands of the 93,000-plus seat stadium.
If you were not aware of the site of the match beforehand, it would have been easy to believe the game was being held at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, and not in the United States.
U.S. goalkeeper, Tim Howard, and the rest of the American team being showered with obscenities.
The "Star Spangled Banner" competing with air horns and beach balls.
U.S. Coach Bob Bradley saying: "Obviously...the support that Mexico has on the night like tonight makes it a home game for them. It's part of something we have to deal with tonight."
Booing--and obscenities, unfortunately--are a part of sports. Outside of the obscenities, I don't really have a problem with those fans that choose to boo. Your team plays like garbage, they get booed.
But the negativity the American team faced this weekend in a stadium that should have been mostly pro-American just doesn't sit right with me. Why is what they faced something they should have to deal with? They were playing in the United States!
There were 93,000-plus people in attendance on Saturday and probably 80,000 of those folks were cheering for our neighbors to the South. Of the roughly 80,000 fans cheering for the Mexican national team, I would venture to say that maybe a quarter of those people were actually Mexican citizens, while the rest call America home.
On the one hand, it's pretty pathetic that the United States can't get enough "pro-Yankee" butts in the stands to at least make up half of the crowd inside an American stadium. On the other hand, it's embarrassing that people who have chosen to make America their home, won't support the "home" team.
Would Mexico be the "visitors" on Mexican soil?
Would Germany on German soil?
How about England on British soil?
Of course they wouldn't be, and neither would any other country in the world.
Seriously, the United States is the only country in the world that has "road" games on their own soil.
Pretty weird, right?
Let me tell you right now: I'm all for people having pride in their heritage and I think it's great for people to always remember where they come from. One of the things that's made the United States the greatest nation in the world is our diversity...a diversity that is truly unparalleled throughout the globe.
I'm Irish, German and Scottish, and I am dearly proud of that fact.
But I'm an American first.
And I will cheer for the United States first.
If America were to be matched up against Ireland, Germany, or Scotland in any sport, I'm pulling for the United States to win...and win big.
I understand that soccer is not as big of a deal in this country as compared to Mexico, England, Germany, or any other nation around the globe, but there is no excuse for what transpired in California this past weekend.
Do you agree with Shawn? Post your comments below.
Shawn Muller has lived in the great city of Chicago for 7 years. He is a 2002 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and, in October of 2010, Shawn received his certificate in radio broadcasting. In his free time, Shawn enjoys spending time with his wife Melissa and 3 year old daughter Ava, catching any live sporting event, and traveling. Check out his radio show, Grab Some Bench with Muller and Bangser" every Thursday night at 8:30 P.M., at www.blogtalkradio.com/spmuller24. Read more of his blogs here.
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