One of the most epic soccer goal calls ever – certainly in the history of international friendlies – has gotten even more psyched up for the 2011 MLS season.
And I was already pretty aped, for a lot of reasons. After years of false starts, Sporting Kansas City (nee Kansas City Wizards) will open its soccer-specific stadium in June. SKC should have a dynamic attack, thanks to Davy Arnaud, Omar Bravo, Teal Bunberry, Kei Kamara and Ryan Smith. Jimmy “The White Puma” Nielsen is back in goal. And, of course, Jack Jewsbury – The Pride of Springfield – will be playing in midfield. Then there’s the matter of the team’s new identity, which – after initial skepticism – I’m all about. The logo is growing on me, the brand is being used well, and the new kits are solid.
It was already a near-perfect storm of excitement for me, and it’s just been upgraded to category 5. Bunberry got into the United States’ friendly with Chile in the second half and, after Juan Agudelo was tripped up in the box, Bunberry stood over the ball to take the penalty kick. Chile goalie Paulo Garces guessed wrong and Bunberry coolly slotted home for his first USMNT goal. The call on Telefutura is now an internet sensation:
Yeah. That’s a Black Eyed Peas reference. It didn’t take long for the mashup to hit YouTube, and it’s just as good:
It’s taken off from there. The Cauldron, a collective of the club’s most ardent fans, has started a “Boon Boo Ree” T-shirt design competition (the winner will be printed and sold) and, if you look hard enough, you can find the mp3 of the mashup online.
And it all hit less than 48 hours before SKC opened preseason training in Arizona. They’re there now, getting ready for a regular season that will require them to play on the road until the June 9 home opener with the Chicago Fire.
Interested in keeping up with Sporting KC? It’s easy to do, even down here in the Queen City of the Ozarks. There’s a Web site, an official blog (The Sporting Way), and an active news blog operated by Charles Gooch, the Kansas City Star’s beat writer (The Full 90). There are also a handful of very good independent blogs, including my personal favorite, Down the Byline. The Back Post, The Daily Wiz and Sporting Times are also worth a look.
But SKC also has a great presence in social media, with an incredibly active Twitter feed, which they often use to live Tweet during matches – a big help for people like me. Several players are also active on Twitter. Kamara is a must-follow for sure, especially after he organized a snowball fight between Sporting players and fans recently:
That’s a level of access fans so rarely get to professional athletes. Everyone looked like they were having a good time, and Kamara even treated participants to his beloved Chipotle when they were done. Can’t beat that.
Wish I could’ve been there in person – and not just for the free Chipotle. Sadly, I haven’t been to a KC match since 2007, a streak I’ll break some time this summer. It’s not easy being a soccer fan in a place where a lot of people don’t “get” soccer. But I think the culture here is changing a bit, with a move to start a chapter of American Outlaws and some well-attended World Cup watch parties at Farmers Gastropub, who has been very supportive of the local soccer community, organized by the indefatigable Ole Olson of SGFsoccer.com. I’ll tell any of you on the outside the same thing I say about hockey: Just go see it in person. Then you’ll understand it.
That’s it for now. I’ve got to go work on my Dougie, set to the tune of the Boon Boo Ree mash-up.