Monday, October 24, 2011

Cutillas,Alexi Lalas and the Azkals(how I got to be a fan)Part 1

Thanks to for the photo

 It wasn't always this way you know? Me, morning noon and night slithering thru cyberspace digesting all and any information about the Azkals. Haunting websites after website, collecting game lineups where ever they may be. Getting familiar with names I never even cared for a few months back. Heck, my German is even getting better just by prowling our half-Teutonics' team website. How about that! My high school teacher would've been proud! Don't complain about my writing neither, Its been two decades since college and it's taking all I've got just to make this blog just slightly passable.

Alexi Lalas
Anyway, to understand, soccer to me was something I used to play in the 70's in school in Makati. When the name Cutillas was whispered in the halls like it was some kind of magical word. To be honest, the name is all that I remember, not the face, just that when he used to come by our school, it was a BIG deal. After a looong break from soccer, came the year 1994. It was a weekend, I remember, as I was recovering from a drunken stupor(hey young adult, give me a break!). I turned on the TV as I laid in bed waiting for the night time to do it all over again, when lo and behold! The US National Team playing in the FIFA World Championship(which was held in the US) thoroughly slapping the 'taste out the mouth', of  Colombia with a final score of 2 to 1, with one of the goals an own goal by Colombia. I remember this because the Colombian player was reported to have been assassinated in his home country for this(talk about rabid fans, no really you can look it up). Yes, I know it was only a 2-1 score but believe me the US outplayed Colombia by a wide margin. The guy that I took notice of? He was a tall, lanky red head, super high energy guy who played defense and was lethal with his head.Alexi Lalas! For the next couple of years he became an icon of US soccer for his flaming mane and rock star demeanor. What happened to the US team after 1994 qualifications? Well they lost against Brazil 1 to nil(by the way, Brazil won the Cup eventually). But that didn't matter. US soccer was back, yes it wasn't the United States' best sport but it wasn't the same whipping boy anymore. Not like the old days. You can ask Mexico, they can tell you. See the parallel with the Philippine national team? The Azkals?

To be continued...

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