March 2010

Let’s Beat England!

In a few short weeks, 11 of our boys will step out onto a field in South Africa to take on the England national team. The country that invented the sport, and never lets anyone forget it. The country we won our independence from. The country against who our greatest soccer triumph was won. The country that looks down their noses at our national team, and laughs at us.

All I have to say is this:

Let’s beat ’em.

Let’s beat England.

For every fan who’d rather sit on his couch and watch Chelsea than stand in a stadium to watch MLS, let’s beat England.

For every internet tough guy who makes fun of the word “sawk-ker,” let’s beat England.

For every media hack who dismisses our league as a joke but regularly watches a dozen of its alumni hold their own in the top leagues of Europe, let’s beat England.

For every treasonous snake who turns his back on his country to play for someone else, let’s beat England.

For every soccer-hating mouthbreather in shoulder pads who thinks our sport is a punchline, let’s beat England.

For every fan who travels hundreds or thousands of miles to watch their beloved Yanks, let’s beat England.

For every mom who ever gave up a Saturday to drive their kid to a game, let’s beat England.

For every dad who kicked a ball around a garden with his kids, let’s beat England.

For every immigrant playing soccer on fields of dusty scrub as he tries to live the American dream, let’s beat England.

For every forgotten legend of American soccer, every Open Cup hero, every factory team star, let’s beat England.

For every kid who ever stuck a soccer poster on his wall, let’s beat England.

For every journeyman pro who ever tried to live the dream, let’s beat England.

For every legendary goal, for Joe Gatjens in 1950, for Paul Caligiuri in 1989, for Jozy Altidore in 2009, let’s beat England.

For every corner kick taken from the dirt of a baseball diamond, let’s beat England.

For every soccer game ever played on gridiron lines, let’s beat England.

For every idiosyncrasy that adds an American flavor to the world’s game, let’s beat England.

For every time we pledge allegiance to our flag, and not a crown, let’s beat England.

For every pioneer, for Bert Patenaude, for Walter Bahr, for Mia Hamm, let’s beat England.

For everything pure and joyful and transcendent in the act of kicking a ball, let’s beat England.

For every future American kid who will ever know the joy of playing this great and beautiful sport, let’s do it.

Let’s beat those smug Limeys.

Keith Hickey is a contributing writer for The Yanks Are Coming. He can be reached at

Keith Hickey

  • Derek

    I like the rabble-rousing sentiment but even I can see the victim complex here. England “look down their noses at us” do they? I’d love it if they did. Fact is, the British don’t consider us at all. That’s how insignificant our USMNT is in comparison.

    As for them never letting anyone forget they invented the sport, why not?!? It’s the greatest game around. We’d never let it die if it had been an American invention.

    Still, points for sensationalism.

  • Melissa

    Well, it brought a tear to my eye. Especially the soccer mom part. And let’s be honest, that’s what’s really important here 🙂

  • Cheers! Very funny and well-written.
    As an American living in London for 2 months (early May- through early July), I am both blessed and cursed to experience the World Cup in a “real” soccer, ahem, football country. As if that weren’t enough, I’m interning at a soccer charity called Alive & Kicking. (It is a non-profit organization that oversees two facilities in Africa, where local workers stitch together balls, which have health information on them, that are then given to African children.) I work with in an office with four Englishmen, and while not snobby, smug or unpleasant, they certainly live and breathe soccer, and it would crush them to see USA beat England.
    In fact, this game inspires such passion around here that Alive & Kicking has set up an event for the US-England match which I will be attending. The charity has rented the ‘Brian McBride Bar’ at Fulham Football Club for an exclusive viewing of the game, accompanied by a selection of food and drinks themed around American and British culture. They are encouraging expat Americans to attend as well as local Brits, so it should be a fantastic atmosphere. Check it out on their website if you’re interested:
    Beyond the opening game, I really hope we can make it through this group the second round to face Germany or Ghana (I expect). Both teams I believe are beatable on our day, with Germany now minus Ballack and Ghana, despite their upset of us in 2006, not possessing a class of talent similar to our own. Anyway, thanks for the interesting post, I’m currently blogging over at . So if you want to follow the thoughts of an American caught in the midst of an English soccer craze, come have a read.

  • They didn’t invent it. The game was imported, they simply gave it official rules. How typically British of them.

  • Derek

    They didn’t invent it. The game was imported, they simply gave it official rules. How typically British of them.

    You’ve confused English with British. I doubt your personal take on the nuances of history are very creditable if you make a mistake like that. Sure, there are examples of football throughout history, but the present, codified form is most certainly an English invention. Football didn’t just appear in the British Isles in 1848. The game existed from pre-medieval times.

  • Oh look Derek, we’ve both said the same thing; other forms of the game existed, were brought to the British isles, and then were later given official rules! And that the rules were of English invention! How cute.

    Yes, I do know the difference between British and English but thank you for being smug, I’ll assume you are not English. Did you know it was the Scottish who gave players different positions on the feild?

  • Also Derek, I urge you to re-read your first comment to the post. Why would all the British teams look down their noses or fail to consider to USMNT at all when only the English team qualified for the World Cup?

  • Derek

    Dearest Ms. Plath.

    We didn’t say the same thing actually. You said the game was imported. Incorrect. It was indigenous. It was spread by the sailors to Commonwealth nations who were playing the game long in advance of its formalization.

    I am being “smug” because, as any small child would say, “you started it!”

    There’s this idea of a “eurosnob” in America. Now I’ve never actually met one so I’m pretty sure it’s just a product of our well known victim complex. I used the term “British” to address this generalization.

    And no I’m not English, I’m well traveled.

  • My Sweet Derek,
    We have studied different histories then, as I have learned that the game came to the isles long before England was England (1066) from Roman soldiers. If you have found record of a similar game played before the Roman Wall, please let me know. The English codified it in the 1800’s, but that is all they can fully claim to its “invention.” Rules.

    As far as the USMNT not being significant to the “British,” there are three British teams you will not see in the World Cup this summer. The English may think the US isnt worth their timw, but certainly the Northern Irish, Welsh, and Scottish teams may not feel the same.

    For being well traveled, lovely! You and I are both a minority of Americans who have a passport and use it often. Don’t let it go to your head though, we are clearly not the only ones and shouldn’t go assuming, should we?

  • Derek

    Since we deal in technicalities here may I be the first to point out that the Northern Irish are not “British.” Britain is comprised of England, Wales and Scotland. Hence why the full title is the United Kingdom of Great Britain AND Northern Ireland.

    And I am not suggesting that the English are guilty of snobbery in my assertion that they do not think much of our national team. They consider our soccer team in the same way we think of their ice hockey team (if it exists). It’s just never been very high on the agenda…

  • Your hard on for semantics is one to be admired, but it has caused you to get so tangled up that you have either missed the point or refused to note it.
    Oh, you win, I relent, your football loving cock is bigger than mine! Was the the point of this all?

    Have a fine time watching the games this summer. Oh, and we didn’t think much of Canada’s ice hockey team either, and didn’t they invent the sport? 😉

  • Derek

    Unfortunately our negligence with regard to the Canadians cost us dear in the Olympics didn’t it?

    And seeing as you’re a “sylvia,” I should hope my cock is bigger.

  • Puck

    Jesus Christ boys, I can’t tell if you want to kill each other, or make sweet love.

  • Amy

    That was a throw down !!!! Nice job on this piece Keith Hickey !!!