Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, however in the U.S It ranks behind basketball, baseball, and American football, so the presidents of this nation are not usually fans of soccer, as they call it there, but rather enjoy other types of disciplines. However, this time Joe Biden seems to be the exception to this rule and from the White House there will be for the first time a special attention to what happens when the ball rolls on the grass.
The president who took office this Wednesday was always a man linked to football, especially thanks to his family. Their children Beau, who died in 2015, and Hunter They began to practice it in their stage as university students during the 70s, when it became popular in some suburbs of the North American country, unlike him, who as a young man had dabbled in American football and baseball.
His first direct approach was when Beau became a minority investor in the Philadelphia Union and helped create the stadium. Precisely, at the meeting in the building, Biden was invited to kick off, something that former team manager Nick Sakiewicz recalled to Sport Illustrated, it bothered the then vice president of Barak Obama’s administration. “He was like, ‘I don’t know. I’m not used to kicking things. I’m usually throwing things away, ‘”he recalled, detailing,“ So we were showing him. Use the side of your foot. Don’t use your toe, ‘it’s like giving him advice on how not to make a fool of yourself. ” Finally, he opted for one of his granddaughters to be the one to kick the ball.
Is that Joe Biden He never played soccer: “My kids were five and six years old and started in a county league, going from 50 to 600 in three years. I don’t even think the high school I went to had a soccer team, “he recounted in 2015. ”Beau played and was captain of the soccer team … and I never played soccer, but I watched all of Beau’s games“He added. That passion was transferred to his grandchildren, who at Christmas 2014 asked him to attend the World Cup that would be held in Brazil.
There he traveled with his family to watch some games, after having met with South American leaders such as the then Chilean president Michelle bachelet and the brazilian Dilma Rousseff, thanks to those who warned that soccer was much more than a sport: it was a key topic of conversation in this type of meetings. At that moment he was even surprised that the leaders did not boast of their economic success or popularity at the polls, but of how many world cups their countries had.
His presence was also key in the changing rooms of that team led by Jürgen Klinsmann, whom he congratulated personally after the victory against Ghana in the debut and Clint Dempsey, scorer of the first goal of the match.
Biden had already traveled to South Africa in 2010 to attend the opening match between the hosts and Mexico and then for the match between the United States and England. Hours before, as detailed in an article Sports Illustrated held a meeting with FIFA President Joseph Blaterr, and the head of his country’s federation, Sunil Gulati, to discuss the possibility of taking the contest to North America.
“No one from Blatter’s people came. So it was just the three of us in his suite, ”Gulati recalled. “Biden was launching the World Cup for us. He was fantastic doing it. All the little things when you try to be friends with someone, you touch them on the knee. Blatter said, ‘Well, I only have one vote.’ (Biden) He basically said, ‘Yeah, but the referee is very important in all of this.’ ” Precisely, the United States managed to have the necessary support and in 2026 it will host the World Cup together with Mexico and Canada.
But the relationship of the current president of the U.S with soccer it is not limited only to men. Along with his daughter, Masy, who served as a goalkeeper in high school, was present at the final of the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Vancouver. It was there that she understood the value of women within this sport and established a great relationship with the soccer player Megan Rapinoe.
In April 2020, the figure of the selected received Joe and Jill Biden in an Instagram Live chat in which the current president jokingly offered him to be a candidate for the vice presidency. Beyond the laughs, he pledged to fight to reduce the salary gap that exists in men’s and women’s sports: “You should receive the same salary as your colleagues as men. It is not a joke. We have been complaining about it for a long time. “
For all this, the United States is now under the reins of the most soccer-loving president in its history.
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