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Summer Jam: Katelyn Long

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Summer Jam is a six-week series that will profile a different Hub Territory high school basketball player every week. The series will focus on returning players that are looking to make the next step in 2014-15. All of the answers, with the exception to coach’s take and Hub sports writer Connor O’Gara’s take, were provided by the student-athlete.

Player: Katelyn Long

High School: Kearney Catholic

Last season: Averaged 4.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and team-high 1.2 blocks per game as a freshman

Individual highlight of 2013-14 season: Grabbing key rebounds down the stretch that closed out a 43-39 victory against Lincoln Lutheran

Team highlight of 2013-14 season: Playing state runner-up Minden in subdistrict finals in front of capacity crowd at Kearney High

Define your role in 2013-14: “Being a freshman, it was just to do all the things I’ve been taught before with the fundamentals and being where I needed to be on defense and knowing the plays on offense.”

What do you expect your role to be in 2014-15?: “That’s a tough question. I want to be more of a shot-blocker and be there more defensively. I’d like to be scoring more on offense this year, too.”

Biggest off-season priority?: “I want to work on the things I had trouble with before so that’d be playing around the perimeter, ball-handling, my shot and that kind of stuff. I’d like to get better at that.”

Goal for 2014-15: “For the team, it’s to make it back to state, get better and get closer as a team. We want to make it to that final game. For me, it’s just to get better at the stuff I need to work on and be more prominent out there.”

Coach’s take: “Defensively, she’ll continue to get better. Offensively, we want her to expand her game and be able to finish at the rim a lot more. I think that’s one of our goals for her, I think that’s one of her goals, hopefully is just to do a better job of finishing,” KCHS coach Rick Petri said.

Connor’s take: As a 6-1 freshman last year, Long probably couldn’t have come into a better situation than the one she did at Kearney Catholic. She wasn’t relied on to do all of the defensive dirty work inside because of the length the Stars had. She admitted she got to be just another tall player on the team. In pieces, Long showed her ability to be more than an interior defensive threat. On a team that moves the ball well and doesn’t have a go-to scorer, Long can wreak plenty of offensive havoc by flashing from block to block. KCHS put up 550 three-pointers last year, which means Long likely won’t see a whole lot of double teams and if she does, she has the awareness to find the open shooter. Long’s height and defensive skillset isn’t going anywhere. But if she can continue to develop her touch around the basket, the Stars will add another dimension that could help them get back to the C1 title game.

  • 07.31.14
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Summer Jam: Adam Lundeen

Summer Jam is a six-week series that will profile a different Hub Territory high school basketball player every week. The series will focus on returning players that are looking to make the next step in 2014-15. All of the answers, with the exception to coach’s take and Hub sports writer Connor O’Gara’s take, were provided by the student-athlete.

Player: Adam Lundeen

High School: Axtell

Last season: Averaged a team-high 11.9 points per game as a sophomore

Individual highlight of 2013-14 season: Scoring 21 points and grabbing 10 rebounds against Wilcox-Hildreth

Team highlight of 2013-14 season: Closing out a hardfought 58-50 road victory against Alma

Define your role in 2013-14: “I was supposed to score and rebound. Defense, I wasn’t very good at. But I’m working on that now. I was the hustle guy. I had to do everything. I had to get fast-break layups, help on defense and get blocks.”

What do you expect your role to be in 2014-15?: “I’m going to have to be a star. I’m going to have to take over in games because we’re losing our other point guard. I’m going to have to score a lot and do all of the dirty work. I’m just going to have to get my teammates open and make shots.”

Biggest off-season priority?: “Defense. I’ve got slow, white guy feet. I can’t keep up with these quick guys in these tournaments. They’re teaching me a lot about how to work on defense. You can see it because I get blown by a lot. But I’m working on it now.”

Goal for 2014-15: “I’d like to make state. That’s always been a dream. Mostly I want to beat Bertrand and Wilcox-Hildreth. We lost to them a few times and those are big games we want to win.”

Coach’s take: “Adam is a fine athlete. He can shoot outside, he’s got good length, he’s got good ups and he comes from a good pedigree. He’s going to be a fine, fine player,” Lundeen’s Nebraska Pride coach Brent Hinrichs said.

Connor’s take: Longtime Arapahoe coach Bob Braithwait told me after his team faced Axtell last season, ‘(Lundeen) looks like a basketball player, doesn’t he?’ As he often did, Braithwait hit the nail on the head. At 6-3 — and maybe growing — Lundeen’s athleticism flourishes when he’s able to run the floor in transition. His ability to finish at the rim is why he led the Wildcats in scoring as a sophomore. He can step out and shoot the three, as well. Lundeen’s thin frame doesn’t suit him to be a back-to-the basket player. But if he can continue to get quicker, he’ll have plenty of ways to score. Defensively, his length allows him to block shots and get deflections. The upside is there for a kid at the center of a young but talented Axtell core.

  • 07.22.14
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Summer Jam: Skyler Snider

Summer Jam is a six-week series that will profile a different Hub Territory high school basketball player every week. The series will focus on returning players that are looking to make the next step in 2014-15. All of the answers, with the exception to coach’s take and Hub sports writer Connor O’Gara’s take, were provided by the student-athlete.

Player: Skyler Snider

High School: Kearney High

Last season: Averaged a team-high 15.2 points per game as a sophomore

Individual highlight of 2013-14 season: Scoring a career-high 28 points in a 64-49 victory at Lincoln Southeast

Team highlight of 2013-14 season: Making it to state

Define your role in 2013-14: “If they gave me the ball, I was just meant to score it. I was supposed to just take it to the hoop and try to score as best I could.”

What do you expect your role to be in 2014-15?: “Obviously scoring. But I also have to help on defense. I have to get a lot better on defense and rebounding. Payton (Cudaback) won’t be there so we’ll need rebounders.”

Biggest off-season priority?: “My defense, for sure.”

Goal for 2014-15: “Making it to state again and finishing in the top five hopefully.”

Coach’s take: “She’s played a lot of basketball this summer and I’ve seen the results. She’s getting a lot better already. Her shooting is one of the areas we always thought she needs to improve on to extend her range a little bit. I think that’s improved a little. Her motor defensively, as well. With a lot of our kids, we’re just talking about communication. We’re pretty quiet out there so we’re trying to find some more vocal leaders and she’s someone kids would follow,” Kearney High coach Jason Boyd said.

Connor’s take: There might not be a better pure scorer in the state’s junior class than Snider. Her game is crafty, which highlights her ability to consistently make the short-to-mid-range jumpers. At 5-10, she isn’t afraid to put the ball on the floor to get to the basket. Still, her advanced offensive skillset has even more room to grow. A back injury at the start of last season hindered her from developing confidence with her outside shot. Snider, who is already receiving Division I interest, can become an even bigger matchup nightmare if she continues to develop her outside game and quickness. Along with Kelsey Stithem, KHS returns one of Class A’s best scoring duos and one more than capable of leading the Bearcats back to Lincoln.

  • 07.15.14
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Summer Jam: Jake Samuelson

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Summer Jam is a six-week series that will profile a different Hub Territory high school basketball player every week. The series will focus on returning players that are looking to make the next step in 2014-15. All of the answers, with the exception to coach’s take and Hub sports writer Connor O’Gara’s take, were provided by the student-athlete.

Player: Jake Samuelson

High School: Bertrand

Last season: Averaged 16 points, six rebounds and three assists per game as a junior

Individual highlight of 2013-14 season: Sinking go-ahead three-pointer against Eustis-Farnam in subdistrict semifinals

Team highlight of 2013-14 season: Combining for 55 points with Robert Edgren in RPAC quarterfinal victory vs. Cambridge

Define your role in 2013-14: “Coach (Craig Newcome) pulled (Edgren) and I out and asked us to do everything we could. He told us to hustle after the loose balls, rebound, get steals when we could, score if there was a chance and to not be afraid to take over if we needed to.”

What do you expect your role to be in 2013-14?: “It’ll be the same thing as last year but a little more intense. I’ll probably ask for the ball a lot more than I usually do. Coach is asking me to be a leader, not just a vocal leader but by action, too.”

Biggest offseason priority: “I’ve been trying to get better off the dribble just driving, working on dribbling. I’m trying to keep it tight. I’ve been working on one-on-one moves.”

Goal for 2014-15: “Just trying to get above .500 again. Last year and the year before that, we had winning seasons. It’d be nice just to keep that streak going.”

Coach’s take: “He’s a good player. He’s got good strength. He can get to the front of the rim well. He’s a good shooter. He’s got the tools and he’s developing well. He’s strong and has good quickness. He’s going to be a handful,” Samuelson’s Nebraska Pride coach Brent Hinrichs said.

Connor’s take: After emerging as one of the Hub Territory’s most versatile players in 2013-14, Samuelson will be relied on even more with the graduation of leading scorer Robert Edgren. That also means shots won’t come as easily. He’ll see a lot more of those double teams, which will make his ability to move without the ball of the utmost importance. Samuelson will need to utilize the same bulldog mentality that helped lead Bertrand to a subdistrict final. If Dakota Fitzgerald can develop into a complementary scorer, the Vikings could make some more postseason noise in 2014-15.

  • 07.08.14
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Kearney High’s Arp commits to Ohio University

By CONNOR O’GARA
Hub Sports Writer

KEARNEY — Brian Arp earned himself a sigh of relief.

The Kearney High defensive tackle spent the last year and a half working to make sure a broken leg wouldn’t end his dream of playing Division I football.

It didn’t. Instead, it motivated him.

“It was really humbling knowing that I broke my leg during basketball and that an injury could end my sports career just like that,” Arp said. “It just made me push myself 10 times harder to try to outwork everyone and get back and make the progress I made.”

Arp’s goal was reached on Thursday when he gave his verbal commitment to Ohio University.

The senior-to-be had offers from South Dakota, South Dakota State and Liberty, in addition to interest from Wyoming and Nebraska. But after taking a visit to Athens, Ohio at the end of June, Arp realized it was the place for him.

“I’m happy with my decision,” said Arp, who will major in either criminal justice or physical therapy. “I couldn’t think of a better place to be right now.”

The All-State lineman said the relationship he developed with coaching staff was what made the place feel like home. In addition to hitting it off with defensive coordinator Jimmy Burrow, who recruited Arp, and defensive line coach Jesse Williams, the thought of playing for former Nebraska defensive coordinator Frank Solich didn’t hurt Ohio’s chances, either.

“That’s a big thing for me,” Arp said.

Arp liked the fact that Solich implemented a lot of the style he used at Nebraska into Ohio’s system. The vibe Arp got at Ohio was admittedly different than the one he received at Nebraska, where he was told he’d be more of a walk-on type player.

But there are no sour grapes about not getting an offer from his home-state school.

“It was a little frustrating,” Arp said. “But then again, it’s a business.”

The business side of recruiting is something Arp learned all about in the month leading up to his decision.

“It’s been really stressful,” he said. “It’s been like, ‘What do I have to do this week?’ It just feels great to get it off my chest and off my back so I can focus on my senior year.”

As busy as his summer has been, Arp can now shift his focus to on-field matters. His commitment won’t prevent him from playing basketball and competing in track next school year. To nobody’s surprise, Arp wants to do it all.

First, he wants to one-up the 12 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and four forced fumbles he recorded during his All-State junior season. Unlike most high school kids, Arp is ready for August.

“I’m ecstatic,” he said. “I cannot wait until my senior year. Just show up and play all of the Lincoln boys and Omaha boys…getting to start with G.I. first, you can’t get much better than that. I’m ecstatic and I know the team is, too. It’ll be a fun year.”

email to:
connor.o’gara@kearneyhub.com

  • 07.03.14
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Blogging in Brazil: Closing thoughts from World Cup experience

Friday June 27, Saturday June 28

As I boarded the final flight on my trip home from Brazil and the 2014 World Cup, I thought I’d make one final blog entry to try and put some perspective on this trip and share some final thoughts from my experience.

One of my goals of this blog was to attempt to bring a small piece of the World Cup in Brazil back home to family, friends, colleagues, soccer fans and sports fans in general. Never in my lifetime did I ever think I’d get to experience the World Cup live and in person, especially in a place like Brazil. But thanks to a loyal group of soccer supporters who got their start in Lincoln, NE, the American Outlaws, whose motto is to “Unite and Strengthen,” myself and numerous others got to experience the trip of a lifetime and the world’s greatest sporting spectacle.

When trying to add some perspective to what it was like to attend five World Cup matches in Brazil, I’ll reference something that most of us in Nebraska can relate to, and that’s Husker football. Five or six times each fall, 90,000 fans travel to Lincoln and go bonkers rooting on the Big Red, regardless of whom the opponent is. Some stand, some sit, some tailgate, some scream their lungs out, some chant, some politely clap; and then we all go home and talk about the game for the entirety of the next week until the following Saturday, when we do it all over again. That scene is replayed in college stadiums across the country, and each college town has their own unique way of celebrating a college football Saturday. I’ve been going to Husker games since I was a kid, and I’d liken the energy of a World Cup match to the energy at Memorial Stadium during the Tunnel Walk. Fans are absolutely losing their minds and just can’t wait for the game to begin! Now picture this…can you imagine the anticipation and intensity of the Tunnel Walk lasting for an entire game? It’s almost incomprehensible, but that’s what I felt during the matches I attended in Brazil.

But what if we only got to experience Husker football game day every four years? And instead of every stadium in the country having their own game, we all converged in one city and one stadium to root for our team. In my opinion, that’s what the World Cup soccer tournament is all about for countries around the world. It’s about entire nations focusing their attention on one match, and that one match is what they’ve been working toward for the past four years. Economies feel the impact, politician’s fates may be decided (as may be the case in Brazil), international relations can be impacted, and nearly 3.5 billion people (50 percent of the world’s population) will tune in to watch on TV. While those statements may not all apply to the US when it comes to soccer, it’s hard to argue with the growth we’ve seen here in the US. Fan support for US Soccer grows game-by-game, year-by-year, in part because of what groups like the American Outlaws have done for US soccer, and also in part because the product on the field has gotten markedly better over the years.

Witnessing fans from Brazil, Italy, Uruguay, Japan, Greece, Germany, Ghana, Portugal and of course the US, sing their national anthems, cheer for their team, chant all game long, cry in defeat, and also in victory was an absolutely incredible experience. I’ve never felt more patriotism at a sporting event than what I felt hearing the Star Spangled Banner played at our US matches. Meeting fans from all around the country and all around the world, total strangers initially, yet we’re all drawn to this game and to this sporting event because we have a passion for the sport of soccer and a passion for cheering for our country.

As the tournament continues over the next couple weeks, I encourage everyone, even if you’re not a soccer fan, to tune in, watch the US, and maybe even watch another game or two as well. After all, the motto of the American Outlaws is “Unite and Strengthen”, and the motto of US Soccer is “One Nation, One Team.” Soccer is a beautiful game, the World Cup is a magnificent sporting event, and hearing chants of USA-USA-USA never gets old.

Over the course of the last two weeks, Kearney High basketball/soccer coach Scott Steinbrook blogged about his time with the American Outlaws in Brazil, where he cheered on the U.S. soccer team in the FIFA World Cup. All of the content and pictures were provided by Steinbrook from Brazil.

  • 06.29.14
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Pelini gets love from Kearney on whistle-stop tour

By CONNOR O’GARA
Hub Sports Writer

KEARNEY — Seven months ago, Nebraska football coach Bo Pelini was booed off of Memorial Field following 38-17 loss to Iowa.

Many thought — and hoped — that would be the final day they’d see Pelini donning red in the state of Nebraska. The naysayers certainly didn’t predict Saturday’s event.

Pelini and 14 other Nebraska coaches made a visit to Kearney as part of the whistle-stop tour aboard the Union Pacific Railroad’s “Big Red Express.”

“It means a lot,” said Millard native and Kearney transplant Rick Bowie. “He’s a great guy, regardless of what a lot of people think about him.”

The reception for the scrutinized coach was not the one he received walking off the field after the 2013-14 home finale. Kearney welcomed Pelini and company with open arms without even a phantom jeer from the hundreds that gathered.

While addressing the crowd, Pelini pointed out the “Don’s Hobby Guns” store across the street and joked they probably did their best business after Husker losses. He even offered fans to give him some pointers afterwards.

Not everyone jumped at that opportunity.

“I boo’d him but he’s a coach,” said Dan Clement. “I wouldn’t want to do his job. He knows better than anybody out here.”

Clement got to see the softer side of Pelini, the side that made cat jokes while holding a fan’s dog. Pelini signed autographs, smiled for selfies and addressed all of those who could greet him. He wasn’t the guy who once cursed out Husker fans.

“He’s a lot nicer here than when he’s at games,” Amherst resident Blake Crites said. “People don’t think he’s like that but then when you’re up close to him, he’s way nicer. He’ll meet you and just talk to you about different football things.”

Pelini met people like Kearney native Warren Rice, who has stayed with the Huskers through thick and thin, even when he hated the football team during the Bill Callahan era. Rice is a strong supporter of Pelini, which is why he high-fived him and got an autograph.

“I think we’ve got to support the athletic program no matter what,” Rice said.

Rice’s only disappointment was that there wasn’t a stronger showing on Saturday.

While some members of the crowd were admitted booers on that Friday afternoon in November, there was a consensus among the group that welcomed Pelini; not everybody is a Bo-basher.

“I think 99.9 percent of the fans are behind Bo,” Bowie said. “I think the small number that call in every week on the Big Red Reaction…it’s too bad because that just brings the bad out of some people.”

And while Pelini was the main attraction, Tim Miles wasn’t far behind. The Husker basketball coach joked with Pelini about how to get tossed from a game — something he did in Nebraska’s first round NCAA Tournament game this year. Miles said he assumed all of the blue in the crowd was for Kearney High. Like Pelini, he was well-received by the Kearney crowd.

“(Miles) is so likeable and personable. Bo is, too. I just didn’t get a chance to meet Bo,” Kearney resident Phyllis Merrill said.

Merrill, like many, didn’t get a chance to meet Pelini because of the large crowd that swarmed him — in a good way — after the rest of the NU coaches were introduced.

It was a change of pace for the Central Nebraska natives that were used to driving across the state to see Pelini on Saturdays. On this Saturday, it was the opposite.

The past is the past, Husker fans said.

‘It’s the only thing our state has,” Bowie said. “We don’t need to be bickering about coaches.”

email to:
connor.o’gara@kearneyhub.com

  • 06.28.14
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Blogging in Brazil: Final thoughts on US advancing

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Thursday, June 26

Lose and advance. Kind of an atypical storyline from today’s game vs. Germany, but we’ll take it, and now it’s on to the round of 16 and the knockout stage of the World Cup. Few would have predicted that the US team would ever make it out of the Group of Death, but they actually went about it in fairly predictable and workmanlike fashion. Beat Ghana, tie Portugal and lose a close, competitive match against Germany. 

While today’s match didn’t necessarily provide the dramatics that maybe we had all hoped for, it was still an electric atmosphere in a rain soaked stadium in Recife. Our day began bright an early with a 2:00 a.m. bus departure from our hotel. Twelve buses, nearly 500 American Outlaws and a police escort all the way from Natal to Recife, made for quite the spectacle when we finally arrived at the pre-game gathering a mile or so from the stadium. We had gotten word that the Brazilian military was going to have a perimeter set up around the area approaching the stadium, which meant we had to leave earlier than expected to get our buses inside that zone. And with a steady rain pretty much all day long, a little shorter walk would be greatly appreciated.

The game itself got the US what it needed, even in defeat. The most nervy moments of the day were actually trying to track the score of the Ghana vs. Portugal game, especially after Ghana tied the game in the second half, before Portugal rallied to win by a score of  2-1. Had Ghana ended up winning, the USA’s stay in the World Cup would’ve been over, and the long road back to Natal, and the flight home this weekend would be a somber one for our crew of American Outlaws.

So now it’s on to the Round of 16, where the US will take on Belgium next week. The support for the US team here in Brazil has been unprecedented, but unfortunately for the vast majority of our group of American Outlaws, our stay in Brazil has come to an end. We can only hope that enough US supporters are still around, or a new crop of fans flock to Brazil to keep the momentum going that this US team and its fan base currently has.

It’s been an amazing ride here in Brazil for both the US team and the American Outlaws supporters group. Having the opportunity to attend the World Cup in a country like Brazil, with its storied soccer tradition and see the US team play three amazing matches earning a place in the Round of 16 has been the experience of a lifetime. 

Bucket list item No. 1. Check.

Over the course of the last two weeks, Kearney High basketball/soccer coach Scott Steinbrook blogged about his time with the American Outlaws in Brazil, where he cheered on the U.S. soccer team in the FIFA World Cup. All of the content and pictures were provided by Steinbrook from Brazil.

  • 06.26.14
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Blogging in Brazil: Sights, insights from Uruguay/Italy match

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Here’s a shot of Uruguay/Italy before things got weird.

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It’s the man, the myth, the biter, Luis Suarez attempting a free kick.

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Here are some faithful Uruguay fans that probably had to answer some awkward questions about their best player after this one.

Wednesday, June 25

On Tuesday, I attended my fourth World Cup and second non-US game of the tournament, Italy vs. Uruguay. This was arguably the toughest ticket for most people in our group (even tougher than US matches), and quite a few people weren’t able to successfully get a ticket through FIFA or local ticket agencies. It was a must win for both teams, and given the tradition, fan following and high profile players and personalities on both teams, the demand most definitely exceeded supply. When you put Andrea Pirlo and Mario Balotelli for Italy on the same field as Luis Suarez (more on him later) and Diego Forlan for Uruaguy, the cameras were clicking from the time they stepped onto the field for warm-ups.

In the stadium, the fans from Uruguay made their presence known immediately, and the local Brazilian fans seemed to side with their fellow South Americans from the opening whistle. I was lucky to have a seat right behind the Uruguay bench and could feel the energy from the Uruguayan fans around me. Watching a game surrounded by fans that don’t speak any English is certainly a different experience; but their body language and emotion said plenty for me to join in the fun.

While the match was highly entertaining, with Uruguay winning 1-0 on a late header, advancing them to the next round, the lead story from this game was all about Uruguayan super-villain, Luis Suarez, who once again stunned the soccer world and sports world by biting one of the Italian defenders late in the game. Suarez isn’t just some average run of the mill player from South America, he was the leading scorer in this year’s English Premier League and superstar forward for Liverpool FC. I can’t quite comprehend what goes on in his head, because this is now the third time he’s bitten a player in his career, and is likely facing a ban from the World Cup and an even longer suspension by FIFA.

Overall this match was a fantastic experience from a fan’s perspective. So much passion and energy from the opening whistle, especially from the Uruguayans, it’s just too bad that the game will be remembered for one of the most bizarre moments in World Cup history.

Oh yeah, and by the way, the US plays Germany on Thursday. Storylines are ripe for this one. Win (or tie) and advance, 5 German born players on the US roster, and our coach, Jurgen Klinsmann is a German soccer legend. Should be a great match; let’s just hope the result gets us through to the next round. Game time is set for 11 am CST, so take an early lunch, or take a long lunch, the TV viewership for US matches is shattering records on ESPN, and this is match you won’t want to miss.

  • 06.25.14
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Blogging in Brazil: Stunning finish shocks Outlaws on adventurous trip

Sunday, June 22 / Monday, June 23

So many directions I could go for today’s version of my Brazil Blog, but I think I’ll start with the end result of yet another wild and crazy US World Cup soccer match. These types of games seem to becoming the norm based on recent US soccer history. An early deficit, followed by stunning goals by Jermaine Jones and Clint Dempsey, only to have our hearts absolutely ripped out in the closing seconds by Portugal. Quite frankly, we deserved to win the game; we were the better side for about 85 of the 90-plus minutes. That fact wasn’t lost on the Portugal fans, who should feel very lucky to walk out of Arena de Amazonas with a draw. In fact, as we were leaving the stadium in a state of silence and shock, an elderly Portuguese gentleman beside me on the staircase said “you deserved to win, you deserved to win,” and proceeded to place the Portuguese scarf he was wearing around my neck. What a great token of respect and empathy, and out of all my World Cup memories, that will undoubtedly be a highlight.

In my previous blog, I had mentioned some of the challenges for teams and fans alike traveling to a place like Manaus, Brazil, which is in the heart of the Amazon jungle and only accessible by boat or plane. Our day began at 2:00 a.m. (Sunday) at our hotel loading the busses to the Natal Airport, and after a few delays and a brief four-hour flight, we landed in Manaus around 11 a.m., in plenty of time for the official US soccer and American Outlaw match day gathering. Immediately following the 6:00 p.m. game, we linked back up with our buses and headed back to the Manaus Airport to hopefully catch a return flight to Natal.  Unfortunately, upon arrival, we found out that our plane wasn’t available and our flight scheduled for 11 p.m. out of Manaus, had been moved to 5:00 a.m. Monday morning. So adding insult to injury, on the field, the US was just a few short seconds from advancing to the Round of 16, and we were stuck overnight in an airport. So now, just like our group of American Outlaws attempted to do after being stuck overnight in an airport, hopefully the USMNT can stay positive, realize they still control their own destiny and focus on earning a tie or win vs. Germany later this week to keep their World Cup hopes alive.

In closing, on the bus ride to the stadium, in the midst of miserable heat/humidity and a substantial traffic jam, our local Brazilian guide commented that, “When you do wrong, you go to hell; and when you do wrong in hell, you go to Manaus.” Safe to assume that was hyperbole and humor by our driver, because I’m sure Manaus has many wonderful attributes. But given the 90-plus degree temps, 95 percent percent humidity, strong smell of bug spray to ward off Malaria carrying mosquitoes, lack of any breeze and the heartbreaking result on the field, I can’t say I’m planning a return trip to Manaus any time soon.

  • 06.23.14