Welcome to the fourth edition of Faces in the Crowd where The Yanks Are Coming profiles fans of the USMNT. This month we have Amy S. from California, who is a saucy brunette PhD student, bartender and a girl that we’d all like to marry. Getchya popcorn ready and get comfortable, it’s time to meet our May Face in the Crowd…
Q: You’re one of our most consistent readers and comment writers, and you’re a girl! So obviously we love you, but sadly we don’t know enough about you, until now. Hit us with your vital statistics, who are you Amy?
Amy: Who am I ? I’m 24, soon to be 25. I guess I was destined to love American sports teams because I was born on the Fourth of July. When I was little, my Daddy told me the fireworks for me. I think the sad part is I believed him. I grew up in New Trier Township, which is a suburb of Chicago. I went to Vassar College in New York for undergraduate, where I studied English. I think Jane Austen is a minx, and prefer books written by women. I’m at Cal-Berkeley now where I am earning a doctorate in Social Policy. I have no clue what I want to do with that degree, but I know I want to help people who are less fortunate than an upper-middle class girl from a nice Chicago suburb. I have a bleeding heart. I’m a huge sports fan, mostly because I was an only child and when Daddy doesn’t get a son, he watches sports on the weekend with his daughter. My other hobbies include volunteer work, foreign movies (the ones they show on Sundance and IFC), politics (was an organizer for Obama), kayaking, and running. I love running almost as much as I love steak. Or Carlos Bocanegra.
To say you know a fair bit about soccer would be a massive understatement, so what’s your soccer resume? How’d you get into the beautiful game?
My soccer background is again probably related to the fact that I’m the only child of a fanatic. I started playing when I was five and I was one of those little girls in the middle of the bee swarm around the ball that people always think is cute. I played central midfield in high school for a decent team and I played defensive midfield at the club level for ten years. I haven’t played much since. My Daddy made me watch the game on TV from a young age, and he took me to the World Cup when I was little in 1994. I’ve loved going in person since.
How did you start following U.S. Soccer specifically?
Again, my US National Team allegiance began as a little girl. Even though we didn’t see the Americans in 94, we watched all of their games and as I grew older I became more obsessed with following them as closely as possible. I took friends into the City with me in 06 to watch all three matches, and I’m not ashamed to say I cried when Gooch was called for that wretched penalty after the Dempsey goal in the Ghana game. I’m almost as big a US WNT fan as a MNT fan, and I love Heather Mitts to this day and Hope Solo!
Favorite USMNT experience?
My favorite USMNT experience is a no-brainer. Feilhaber’s maestro to beat Mexico at Soldier Field in the 2007 Gold Cup. My Dad threw his beer in the air and it fell on a Mexican family in front of us. They were angry but we were too busy hugging and screaming to care. Still the nicest goal I’ve ever seen by a Yank, with all due respect to Clint’s strike against Juve this year.
We know you’re a big Carlos Bocanegra fan, so what’s your favorite Boca moment? (barring the hypothetical future event where he cooks you dinner and rents a romantic comedy for the two of you)
My favorite Boca moment hasn’t happened yet, but basically it involves candles, arroz con pollo and The Notebook…nevermind…need to remember the kids. My favorite Boca moment was the Spain game at the Confederations Cup last year. I know Jay DeMerit gets most the love for that game, but it was Boca’s leadership and his ability to disrupt the interior Spanish passing game around the American box that set the tone for the win. It was even more special for him I’m sure because he missed the first three games with a hamstring injury. To come back and play that well and play that composed coming off an injury is why Carlos is the Captain, I think.
Aside from The Captain, who are your favorite U.S. Soccer players past and present?
Past and present favorite USMNT players: Hope Solo and Heather Mitts. Need to give love to the girls. After that, I’d say there are three players who immediately come to mind. The first is Eric Wynalda, who really carried the Yanks through some darker times in the mid and late nineties. Second is Michael Bradley– I love how tenacious he is and I absolutely adore his passion and commitment. I know sometimes it gets the best of him, but I always ask myself: “Who would you rather have– a businesslike guy who you sometimes wonder how much he cares– or a guy who absolutely wears his heart on his sleeve?” No brainer, I think. Finally, Clint Dempsey, just because you so rarely see an American so capable of the exceptional at any moment. When he’s on, it is breathtaking. And I wanted to hug him when he was crying after the Confed Cup. Questions about his commitment in the American shirt should never be asked again.
Who’s starting at left back in the World Cup? Who gets the nod at the non-Michael Bradley center mid spot?
Left back– I’m partial to Boca if Gooch is fit. It worked against Spain and for a while it worked against Brazil too. I really like our back four. In the middle, I’d probably start Ricardo Clark, just because he’s the most known commodity. Sometimes safe is best. Certainly Edu and Jose Torres have strong arguments though. I know I’d hate to be Bob Bradley.
Let’s explore your other sports allegiances. Which club teams do you support? Favorite non-soccer teams?
Other sports allegiances are almost exclusively Chicago-based. I am a big White Sox fan and I have a huge crush on Mark Buerhle ! He’s a great pitcher and I’m pretty sure he’d be far more appreciated if he played for the Northsiders. I like the New England Rev as an MLS team– mostly because I didn’t really pay attention to the Fire when I was still in Chicago, and once I was at Vasser the soccer folks I knew were mostly New Englanders who liked the Rev. Finally, there is my favorite team on the planet, other than the USMNT. My Chicago Bears. Mostly they make me cry. Or swear. I hate Jay Cutler, he’s a whiner and he’s lousy. Shame, because I do like Lovie Smith, but his fate is tied to Cutler. I digress.
You met The Yanks Are Coming writer Neil Blackmon a couple weeks ago… what was that like!? Does Neil have a California court date anytime soon?
It was great to meet Neil and put a personality with the blog. I think one of my favorite things about the site is how it is original and fresh. You guys aren’t afraid to be different and that is great. Neil was a really sweet guy, and a good tipper. I was surprised because usually you are afraid of the boys that act that innocent.
There’s a big-time USMNT game on a given weekend but you’re stuck in Berkeley. Take us through your night, from where you’re watching and who with, to the ensuing celebration after the Yanks notch a crucial victory.
Being stuck in Berkeley for a big National Team match isn’t the end of the world. If I don’t have a few people over to my place for the game, I’m probably watching at Beckett’s Irish Pub, which is a cool bar downtown and a great place to watch soccer. If we get the W, we’d either stay there or take the BART into San Francisco to continue the party. Beckett’s is where I saw the Egypt game last year– and it was rowdy and intense. A great atmosphere, especially after Michael Bradley scored the second goal.
And finally, you’re a bartender right now Amy; what’s your drink?
I am a bartender. When I’m not making vodka crans for drunk girls, I’m drinking Baccardi and Diet.