It is impossible to deny soccer’s growing popularity among U.S. fans. An ESPN Sports Poll Annual Report revealed that Major League Soccer is now as popular with American children as Major League Baseball. And according to FIFA, U.S. fans are second to Brazil in the purchase of tickets to this year’s World Cup. As the Team USA fan base continues to grow, here is a list of interesting facts to prepare you for Sunday’s match against Portugal.
1. John Anthony Brooks possesses psychic powers … maybe.
Two days prior to Monday’s match, John Anthony Brooks dreamed he would score the USA’s winning goal against Ghana, specifically by a header from the corner. The 21-year-old center back, who had never played in an official game for the USA, said, “I said, ‘I had a dream,’ I told some teammates that I dreamed that I had scored in the 80th minute and we won the game.” His dream was spot-on, except it turned out to be in the 86th minute of the game … but seriously, who’s counting.
2. They broke an eight-year dry spell.
Ghana eliminated the USA in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, making Monday’s win extra special.
3. There’s a really complex system behind deciding the color jerseys they wear.
Team USA will wear all-white jerseys against Portugal and Germany, which is different than the red look they sported during the match against Ghana. The FIFA competitions department lays out the look for each game but the referees have the final say. “The emphasis, increasingly, is on completely nonambiguous color clashing. They want white and then a dark color. An orange and a black on certain TVs doesn’t come across as well. In certain parts of the world there aren’t always color TVs, so FIFA is looking for a broader contrast.”