My first FIFA World Cup exposure was in 1994. The World Cup was hosted in the US. I was quite intrigued by the the new popularity of soccer in the States.
I had never watched soccer much. Didn’t play it in my high school. Actually our community didn’t have any soccer fields or leagues. I had played a Nintendo version of soccer, but that was about it.
Watching those crowds cheer and sing and bang drums was very exciting to me. Seeing people from all over the world descend upon these stadiums and cheer their brains out was inspiring.
Since that first exposure, I have kept up with futbol. I attended a couple MLS games while living in Dallas. I bought and viciously played FIFA World Cup on my PlayStation (always using Italia as my national team and Roma as my club team).
I traveled to Naples and Rome in summer of 2006, I saw the anticipation of an Italian bid for the cup. They did win the cup and I was so excited for them. My son actually has an Alessandro Del Piero jersey hanging in his closet.
All this to say, once your hooked, your hooked. I will watch every match I can for the 2010 World Cup. There is nothing like this in the world. I believe the World Cup is so much larger than the Olympic because of the intensity of the game.
For a few weeks the attention of nearly every nation on the globe will be centered in South Africa to watch men play the most beloved sport in all the world. I hope to go someday to experience the craziness first hand. I think I will add that to my bucket list.
Go USA! Vive Italia!