Now let me ask you this- can you think of a better way to celebrate 11/11/11, ie Armistice Day, then going to a France- USA soccer match? Me neither!
Full story: some weeks ago my friend Nick told me he would be in Paris for a few days and I should come down to drink wine and poke fun at French people. It really doesn’t take much to convince me to go anywhere, but what sealed the deal was Nick follows soccer a fair bit more than I do and realized there was a France vs. USA friendly match going on, so how could one not go?
Now time for a spoiler alert: the final score was 1-0, and if you know anything about the sport you know it wasn’t the Americans who scored the goal. But it was my first big live national soccer match, and how you not have a good time with awesome seats like these-
Before you ask, these seats cost 10 Euros. Really! The reason is it’s not exactly like the American section is going to fill up at a soccer match in Paris, even when it’s a super tiny sliver of maybe 2% of all the seats in the stadium, so they were trying rather hard to get rid of them. So hey that’s really awesome, except I am probably now spoiled for any future games I’ll attend.
The other thing to note is that even when you’re seriously outnumbered in the USA section that doesn’t mean the security is anything less than insane (and overall much more heightened even for the general crowd than any sports match would be in the USA, as the yellow jacket guards above show). Not only were we in our own little gated area with a fence separating us from the rest of the crowd with tickets thoroughly checked to make sure no Frenchies snuck in, we had our own security detail!
Two of said security detail looking bored as hell, and the press photographers for good measure as they were kinda cool to watch. The thing about all the security was I never quite worked out whether they were there to protect us from the French or to protect the French from the Americans in case we all brought our guns to the game or something. All I know is it just seemed a little excessive to worry so much about the American presence inducing soccer hooliganism on either side because dude, it’s the American team. In soccer. Plus we were all patted down upon entering the stadium so not like we smuggled in our automatic weapons.
Anyway, it was definitely a fun game though my only wish was that it would’ve been nice for the Americans to score a goal so we could all go crazy a bit like the French are in the above picture when they scored their goal. But alas it was a rather lopsided match in talent and refereeing- I know the losing side often invokes the latter, but I suspect soccer hasn’t caught on much in the USA yet because referees miss so many fouls- so there we are. But hey, the beauty of Europe is it’s not like going to a big soccer match will be all that hard to do in the future!