Watching the US Men's soccer team play in Nashville over the Fourth of July weekend was one of the more visually compelling experiences I had this year. I wrote an email to the hosts of Men In Blazers (a soccer podcast) detailing my experience. Here's a snippet of that email:
"I'm writing to share a bit of my experience cheering on the USMNT in Nashville this past weekend. I don't know how often you get to go out and experience home USA matches and the festivities that prelude them, so I thought I'd give you something cheery to think about.
"It was a wet, grey, dreary day, an English day so to speak, but probably a lot warmer. Still, the American Outlaws' parking lot was packed. In one corner, country music blasted from a car stereo; in another, popular indie. On the east side of the lot, a Nashville F.C. tent marked center of the revelry. Men and women in red, white, and blue (as well as the occasional founding fathers get up) chanted pro-USA songs while others stood in line for the free food graciously provided by the local AO chapter. Just beyond the tent, fans of all ages took part in a game of pick up soccer on the slippery pavement. All told, there were several hundred fans in the lot. And at 4:30pm, we all marched toward the stadium together, chanting the whole way. Local traffic be damned.
"At the grounds, there was a palpable energy. Despite the rain and relative insignificance of the match, 45,000 fans showed up (mostly for the USA) and nearly filled the stadium. Most notably, I saw fans of all genders, ages, and ethnicities wearing USMNT jerseys and USWNT jerseys, unifying the federation in a way that I had only read before as marketing but had never actually seen.
"We continued to chant and sing through the warm ups. When the teams took the field and the national anthem began to play, the guilt and cynicism that so often clouds my sense of national pride melted away, and in that moment, I was so deeply happy to see the progress of the soccer subculture in the USA and I was truly proud to be an American."
I also captured some of what I saw on video:
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