Letters From Kabul

From the “Biggest Fire Fan in Kabul, Afghanistan”…take dos!

Well, the MLS season has effectively ended for the Fire faithful…but I believe that there is still some good play to watch!  I find myself pulling for the New York Red Bulls now, just because of the turn-around season they have had compared to 2009. 

The good news that I discovered since my last post – there is a way to catch live feeds via the internet to watch MLS and EPL games!  I was able to watch the final two games of the season, two important games; McBride’s last home match against DC United and his 80th and final MLS goal in the season finale against Chivas USA. That was a great goal…what a way to end a career…highlights like that one will be sorely missed! 

My immediate hope, is that Wilman Conde (or “the Beast” as my daughter refers to his defensive skills) re-signs with the club.  Although I am more of an offensive player myself, Conde is one of my favorite players to watch on the field -- he is so athletic and dominating on the ball.

So, the 2011 season – should prove interesting getting from here to the start. First off, we lost two icon players from the roster; it’s hard to imagine a Fire line-up without CJ Brown. The team is definitely going to have somewhat of a leadership void with his absence.  And, the loss of #20 will show effects as well, both in the locker room as well as the on the attack. 

We will get to see two clubs join the league - the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Portland Timbers.  It looks as though American defender Jay DeMerit may become Vancouver’s first DP…however, I would have liked to have seen him sporting “Best Buy” across his jersey next season!    

I have thought of other high quality American players that I’d like to see come back to our side of the ocean to play: defender Steve Cherundolo from my hometown of Rockford, Illinois or DaMarcus Beasley, Maurice Edu (playing for my favorite Scottish team –Rangers), Clint Dempsey (even though he plays for my favorite English team – Fulham) or Jozy Altodire (who I thought may have been looking for a team). 

I recently discovered that a NATO base just down the road and within walking distance has some soccer going on…both indoor and outdoor!  I am working to get a group of guys together to make the trek one or two nights a week to get some ball in…if successful, I’ll be playing “international” with a Canadian, Brit, Slovenian and maybe a Czech!  All of these guys are around my age, hope that we don’t always run up against the “kids” out there (I’m older than McBride!).  So, now I need to get some cleats and maybe a pair of indoors along with that ball! 

Since my last blog, I’ve really gotten to know some of the Afghan people; several of the senior police officers and some of our local interpreters.  Through these interactions and friendships, I realize that the vast majority of Afghans are glad that we Americans and coalition forces are over here helping to build their nation back to where they once were. We are helping to build not only institutions, but a lasting framework that will endure after we have turned over our mission to them. 

My last thought that I wanted to share is the story of our flagpoles.  We have a flag of every nation that is contributing to the efforts of helping to rebuild Afghanistan on our base.  Each day that a member of any of these nations is killed here in Afghanistan, members of that nation’s military go out and lower their flag to half staff.  So far, I have stopped and been a part of two of these ceremonies; one for the French and one for the Germans.  What a sobering way to realize that some of these fine people are giving all. 

The best days on my base are the days when all flags are raised full staff!

So, from Kabul, proud to serve – and, GO FIRE!!!