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Friday Feedback: Your Best Soccer Memory, Part 1

I'm sure some Villan will list this. (Photo by Getty Images)
I'm sure some Villan will list this. (Photo by Getty Images)

This week we decided to do something a bit different. With everyone able to enjoy the international break, it seemed like a perfect time to get some of the other SBN soccer bloggers in on the action of Friday Feedback.

The question was prompted by the joy that Aaron and Kirsten must have felt at watching the Sounders hoist some shiny silverware this week. But we've all watched soccer long enough to have a favorite memory. Even if you're brand new this season, it might be something like Heskey shocking the heck out of us with a brilliant header. Below you will find the responses from those outside of 7500. Your home team writers will share their memories tomorrow morning in part two. (Be warned: grab something to eat/drink. Lots to read and watch ahead). Be sure to add yours in the comments, be you a Villan or otherwise. We can't wait to read your responses!

This week's question: What is your favorite soccer memory?

Benjamin (Eighty Six Forever): My favourite soccer memory is actually one of my earliest soccer memories (maybe that's why I like it so much). Back in 2002, when I was a teenager playing youth soccer in Edmonton, Alberta, I (and most of my teammates) got a free tournament pass to the FIFA U-19 World Championships taking place in the city that year. Like any young soccer snob, I laughed and ignored it. Girl's soccer? Oh, yeah, I'm going to that. Except that a few of my teammates did go, and when they came back they were full of excitement: it was actually pretty good! More amazingly, Canada was doing really well, convincingly knocking off Ghana in the quarter-finals.

Reluctantly, I went out to watch Canada play Brazil in the semi-final. I had horrible seats, way off in a far corner of the upper tier. Not that it mattered, since playing Brazil at soccer meant we were going to lose anyway. But we didn't, not by a long shot. Instead, 37,194 people watched Canada rage back and forth with the Brazilians, a game of only two goals but constant chances. In spite of the modest level of play the excitement was palpable, and when Canada finally emerged victorious in a penalty shootout that was it. The place went crazy, and I was whoopin' and hollerin' with them. That's why I can blame a bunch of U-19 women for this infuriating addiction to Canadian soccer. Thanks, girls.

Chris (Burgundy Wave): Definitely the MLS All Star Game coming to Colorado the year that The Dick opened. My friend Armando and I decided to bandwagon Celtic FC just to piss off the other people there, (i.e. FOR THE LULZ) partially because there weren't any Rapids on the team to cheer for beside Pablo Mastroeni on the bench.

Dave (Sounder at Heart): It may seem odd, in that I'm a Sounder at Heart, but even though I grew up in South King County while the NASL Sounders were flourishing, my "moment" was in Kuwait. I became a soccer fan on foreign soil, as a neutral, watching two 1998 World Cup Qualifiers. The Kuwaiti team was decent in the that run, by Asian standards, but the matches I saw were against Saudi Arabia (who did qualify) and Qatar. That Saudi match did it for me.

Three Arabic linguists, and our Morse code teammate, in the US Army with nothing better to do on a Friday Night (that's from memory) decided to spend a few dollars and go to a game. It was a huge rivalry match. The best of the West Asian Arab teams against one of the many nations that is essentially their little brother. The Saudi traveling support was a battalion of soldiers in uniform, chanting in perfect unison. The Kuwaiti fans were vocal. The soccer decent.

My three friends enjoyed the game for the first time. For me it was the crack in the door for later when I would work in radio and get mocked for my love of the wrong football.

Denz (RSL Soapbox): This (might be the best picture I have ever taken) or this either one counts as my favorite memory.

Not only winning MLS Cup despite all the doubters, it was the launch weekend of my SB Nation blog, and I was on the pitch taking pictures for the biggest match of the MLS season.  It was all win.

Graham (We Ain't Got No History): In 1997 I was ten years old and for reasons unknown to both myself and everyone around me, was a rather enthusiastic Chelsea fan. This was a club that was happily mediocre, having finished 11th three times out of the past four season (and 14th in the other). Their major last trophy was earned in 1970, and there was no compelling reason to think that the state of affairs would change anytime soon, despite the side bringing in a host of mid-level European players to bolster the squad's depth and talent. 1996/97 was a wild ride for Chelsea fans - Gianfranco Zola was introduced to London for the first time, Matthew Harding was killed in a helicopter accident, and the club was up and down more often than a yoyo being played on a pogo stick. Eventually, the club finished 6th, and reached the FA Cup finals for the first time since getting thrashed by United 4-0 in 1994. 43 seconds into said finals, Roberto di Matteo did this.

Hell. Yes.

Jeremiah (Sounder at Heart and SBN Main): My soccer awakening definitely happened during my trip to Europe for World Cup 2006. Not sure if it was the U.S. game against Italy when I watched the game in a small bar in Amsterdam or when I watched France take on Brazil while standing in a packed Dublin bar.

Up until I watched that game in Amsterdam, I had no idea what it felt like to passionately care how my country did in an international competition. Sure, I cheered on the USA in previous tournaments, but it was always with a certain detachment. That was the first time I stood and sang the national anthem at somewhere other than a stadium. It was definitely the first time that I jumped for joy and hugged perfect strangers while watching a match on TV. And it was definitely the first time I shook the hand of an opposing fan.

The match in Dublin was very different because I had less of a rooting interest, but it was the first time I saw how soccer could drive fans to tears before the result was secured. During the entire match, fans of both teams were singing and chanting. They were welling up during the national anthems. One French fan next team was literally sobbing at the end of the victory. That match showed me the potential of what a sporting event could feel like.

Russ (Cottagers Confidential): I think my favorite soccer memory would have to be Fulham beating Hamburg in the Semifinals of the Europa League last season. All of Fulham's hard work for two plus seasons paid off with a victory, and a place in the Finals.

Steve (Daily Soccer Fix): Oh, gosh. So many.

The media bus ride into the Rose Bowl before the 1994 World Cup final was an emotional moment - if you're a young writer who loves soccer, you've pretty much accomplished a life goal at that point.

Four years later, being in Paris on Bastile Day (day 3 of a three-day bender for the entire freakin' city) was pretty amazing, as the country was in euphoria not seen since the liberation due to the double celebration (World Cup victory and the usual Bastile Day revelry).

Ted (The Short Fuse): My fondest memory is, strangely enough, watching Thierry Henry's last game at Highbury.  It was bound up with a lot of history, history that I was not able to see, mostly, of course.  But that, in a way, made it more emotional for me, that sense of something missed.  So much was bound up in that game, being down 2-1 to Wigan, then Henry, one of the three players that grabbed my attention from the moment I was told to watch Arsenal by a neighbor, scored a hat-trick.  His feat that day secured a Champions League spot for us at the expense of our biggest rivals, and as he scored his third, a penalty kick, he knelt down to kiss the turf that he, and we, would never see again.

Tweed (Hot Time In Old Town): I was still relatively young when my dad took me to Solider Field for a World Cup match between Spain and Germany.  I had never been to a soccer game so I didn’t know what to expect.  You can imagine my sheer surprise and delight when I found a stadium packed with people dancing, banging on drums, waving flags and speaking several different languages.  It was love at first sight and I was hooked forever when I passed a hot dog down to a Bolivian and realized it went through German, Spanish, and American hands before reaching its final destination.  When AC Milan came to play the Chicago Fire a decade later at Soldier Field, I had to go back for just a slice of the magic.  July 27, 2005 started a whole new affair when I discovered a mix of city and soccer club.  I knew while I would always like some other sports, soccer was the new king.


I'd like to thank everyone who contributed for taking a moment out of your days to share with us. It's been a real treat to read these.