USA team hopes to capture soccer’s ‘holy grail’

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 20, 2002

Sports Editor

Troy Parks and Recreation Director Dan Smith is hoping the United States’ success in the World Cup will carry over into August.

Because that’s when the TPRD starts registration for soccer.

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The USA beat Mexico 2-0 on Monday, advancing to the final eight where they will face Germany, winner of three World Cup titles, on Friday.

The win over Mexico is considered to be the biggest in U.S. soccer history. In 1930, the U.S. advanced to the semifinal round but there were only 13 teams competing.

President George Bush told U.S. coach Bruce Arena before Monday’s game: "The country is really proud of the team. There are a lot of people who don’t know anything about soccer, like me, but we know we are excited and pulling for you."

A sport that’s grown more and more popular each year in Troy, soccer fans across the nation have jumped on the USA bandwagon to cheer the home team. #Add to that an already increased sense of patriotism following the Sept. 11 attacks, and anything stamped with the

red-white-and-blue just has to go over well with Americans.

"I feel there will be after affects because of this," said Smith. "I hope it will add growth to an already growing sport. We also want to let everyone know that the lights for the soccer fields at the Sportsplex have been ordered so that will just add to the level of activity we should see out there this fall."

While not taking a soccer addict’s approach to the World Cup, Smith said he does stay up on how the U.S. is doing.

"Those 2 a.m. games are a little too late for me," said Smith. South Korea is playing host to the World Cup. "But I check the headlines every day to see how they’re doing."

Josh Post, a junior placekicker at Charles Henderson High School said he has taken a great deal of interest in the USA’s surprising World Cup run. Post moved to Troy from Dothan two years ago with his parents and started playing soccer when he was six years old.

"I’m really surprised at how well they’re playing," said Post. "I don’t know how they’ll do against Germany because they’re probably still celebrating that win over Mexico."

Post was a member of the inaugural CHHS soccer team, which was started in 2001, but has since gave up playing the sport to concentrate more on football. Post has averaged over 40-yards per punt and has been an accurate long range field goal kicker for the Trojans since he arrived on campus in 2000. He sees football as an opportunity for a college scholarship, but admits he’d still like to play soccer.

"Football’s more about standing there and waiting to go on the field," he said about being the Trojans’ placekicker and punter. "In soccer you get a lot more touches and you can create scoring opportunities."

Dothan was high on soccer, but Post said he hasn’t seen the same involvement in Troy.

But like Smith, he hopes a possible World Cup Championship for the USA will change all of that.