From the “Biggest Fire Fan in Kabul, Afghanistan”…my first ever blog!
Okay, so not a title that is going to be quickly challenged, but a solid title none the less!
A soccer player and fan since the age of five, being in Kabul without the ability to watch the Fire play out this season (and, all of next season as well), life is missing a little something! When I’m back home in the States I’m a subscriber to MLS DirectKick and the Fox Soccer Channel, to ensure that I can catch as many games as possible. I guess that is one downside to Armed Forces Network (AFN), they play football, basketball, hockey, baseball and even MMA – just not soccer!
For this tour overseas, I am relegated to tracking the Fire games on MLSsoccer.com using the Matchcenter, but it beats waiting to read about the game later.
As you’re following online, it’s great when you get to see (in close to real time) “Goal Scored by 6-Peter Lowry, 2nd of season. Assisted by 14-Patrick Nyarko, 9th of season and 28-Steven Kinney, 1st of season. In Goal was 1-William Hesmer,” pop up across the screen. I’m sure that my daughter liked watching that goal - she thinks that Lowry is a cute player. (Am I in trouble for writing that?)
The good thing is I am on a NATO base that is truly representative of the coalition of forces that we have gathered to help fix Afghanistan and with coalition comes talk of soccer, or futbol for many of my new friends! I am working alongside Canadians, Brits, Aussie’s, Romanians, Dutch, Germans, French, Italians, Norwegians - even Mongolians are on base for our force protection! I have continued to talk about how the USA played vastly better than England in this year’s World Cup, and how there are now many US players on several of the premier teams in Europe.
We are trying to get a group of us together in the early morning to kick a ball around. However, we are facing two problems: (1) our base is so small and cramped that we will most likely being kicking the ball around on either dirt or roads, and (2) we need a ball! (I must admit that there was a brand new ball here when I arrived, but it was of the Houston Dynamo variety, so I gave it to an Afghan child). I’m sure that once we overcome our second obstacle, the first will be easily solved.
In my short tenure here, I’ve met two guys on the base from Chicago. One was easy to pick out -- he was wearing a tattered Blackhawks hat. After a long sports conversation, he relented and told me he would head to a Fire game next spring. Even over here, I’m trying to recruit fans to the sport!
So, life in a third world country – it’s not anything that you would expect. A large percentage of the population in this country is illiterate, have never used a computer and have never been more than a few miles from their village! But, they make some excellent chai tea. On a trip through Kabul today, I saw eight people in a Toyota Corolla and somewhere around 15 people in a Toyota minivan that had the sliding doors open and men hanging out!
(I figured there would be bonus points with the stadium sponsor for naming the most prevalent car in all of Kabul….the Corolla!)
I am looking for a strong finish from the Fire…it would be great for McBride to go out on a good season end. I know that I will surely miss seeing number 20 on the pitch, but it is great to know that there are players close to my age still playing at that level! Let’s make sure that we get the stands filled for Brian’s last home game, he surely has brought a great competitiveness to the Fire field along with leadership and mentoring of the younger players!
So, from Kabul, GO FIRE!!!