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USA! USA! USA!

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Oh wait a minute.... Did you see the USA game?!?!  We didn't think this WC could get any better then Donovan put in a 92nd min winner!!!  How crazy was the Pretoria stadium?!  You would've had to be there to appreciate the craziness!!!  I'm

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pretty sure that every US fan stayed about 30 or 45 mins after the game chanting "USA" "USA" USA!"  It was nuts.  I can't even describe how lucky we have been to see the games we have seen.  We can only hope that the NZ vs. Paraguay can be better!


Anyways, the 7th day of our trip started out semi-early but we slept in a little bit to rest up for the next couple days.  Brandon, Thomas and Justin headed to the mall to pick up a few groceries, stopped at the inet cafĂ© and bought a few souvenirs before heading to Petoria for the USA game.  We left for the US game around 11:30 and it was about an hour drive up there.  We got up there and searched for a pub to have some lunch and a few drinks before the game.  There were so many USA fans in the spot we parked it was incredible!  We found a pub and had some lunch and some drinks before heading to the stadium.  It was an older stadium but kind of a cool stadium.  Mike and Jen had different seats from B, J and T but it was a

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great time for all of us.  If you watched the game you know how it ended.  From Brandon, Justin and Thomas' seats there were some England fans that were clearly at the wrong game.  They were adamantly cheering against for the US like Xavier cheers against UC.  It was like little brother cheering against big brother!  Right before halftime England scores and these 3 guys start cheering and all the US fans are giving them some crap!  B, J and T starting cheering..."England doesn't matter, England doesn't matter... Na, Na, Na, Na, Na."  I'm sure you all watched the game so we don't need to go into detail on what happened.  It was crazy!  EVERYONE WENT NUTS!!!!  We can't even begin to describe how crazy it was in the stadium.  After the game was over the team stayed out on the field for about 25 mins (which is longer than normal) saluting all of the fans, it was quite awesome!  There were so many US fans, it was great to see.  By this time the England fans had left b/c they realized they were still little brother being 2nd in the group now!  Ha!  We left the game and headed back to Joburg (yeah we use the slang now b/c we feel like we are pretty much locals).  We met up with Carina, Ian, and one of their friends for dinner at a

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local Mexican restaurant to have dinner and drinks. We met them at their house and went over to the restaurant.  We were there for about 3 hours just having dinner and drinks just talking about the game, South African culture and all around having a great time.  At this point we realized how lucky we were to rent our flat from such great people.  This made us look forward to our Braaie on Friday nite.  After dinner we headed back to our place to hang out, watch the highlights and unwind a little bit from a crazy day.  We have to get ready to celebrate a NZ win against Paraguay the next day! 


Hope you all are doing well!!  Until then... AYOBA!!!!!!!!

The SA crew

Some Down Time in South Africa

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Hello to all of our friends out there following along in this wonderful trip to the World Cup!  Day 6 was somewhat of a laidback/recharge day for us.  We have been going non-stop for the first 5 that we needed this day to kinda relax.  Thomas, Brandon, and Justin drove up to Sandton (20 mins away) to see if they could get round of 16 tickets for the games on Saturday and Sunday.  They discovered that the games were all sold out.  This is a little bit of a bummer but all is not lost.  We may drive to the stadiums and try and scalp tickets and take our chances...its high risk but also high reward!!  I think all of us would regret at least not trying!! 

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By far the highlight of the trip so far is this next part.  We got to go to Timmy's hotel to spend some time with him!!!  What excitement!  Although I think Timmy was the most excited to get away from the day to day routine he has been in for quite some time.  When we pulled up to his hotel...this wasn't your normal hotel, it was one of the best golf resorts in the country as well.  They did a detailed check of our car inside and in out and sent us on our way.  It was about a 5 min drive just to get to the clubhouse where we were going to meet Timmy.  When we parked some employees of the resort met us at our car and knew what we were there for.  We felt like we were some sort of celebrities...haha.  Most everyone we met inside the clubhouse knew who this "Tim Brown" fellow was...and some of the female's eyes lit up a little bit....typical Timmy to wooo the females!! Hahaha!  We sat and chatted with Timmy for a little over an hour and it felt like old times.  We talked about the college days and the parties we went to.  Nothing about soccer was discussed though....this was his break away from soccer and he just wanted to see how all of us had been doing.  He kindly let us know that he lived in New Zealand and that it was ok for us to visit now that we have passports!! HA!  He asked about some of you and we carried on with lots of laughs.  It was truly nice to sit down with a good friend that lives half way around the world and talk about the "good ol days".  We snapped a few photos with him and he signed a few things for us to bring home and it was off to the Argentina vs. Greece game.  Timmy had got us tickets to this game in really good seats.  When we left Timmy was going to escort us out of this massive place in his own personal golf cart.  You see...this wasn't really a hotel...it was a resort with a bunch of gigantic houses on it.  There were 5 players to a house and they all got golf carts to get around.  This was dangerous to give Timmy such free reign with a golf cart!!  As he was escorting us out we had to go through 4 round-a-bouts which are confusing enough back home but to be on the wrong side of the car and the road made it even more challenging!  He took off on the wrong side of the round-a-bout and we proceeded as good SA drivers on the correct side (the left side).  There is no traffic back in the resort so we are sure that Timmy has drove anywhere he wanted and not had an issue.  Well this was different...his excitement level was through the roof and while on the other side of the round-a-bout he cut over and BAM!!!  Hit our car right behind the right front tire!!  What are you doing?!?!?!?!?!  Hahaha.  We all got out and after knowing Timmy was not hurt rolled around on the ground laughing hysterically.  He left quite the dent in the side of our car and we know we will end of paying for it but

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we were all laughing to hard to care!  After we left the resort the 5 of us continued to laugh and talk about what had just happened!  A World Cup player just t-boned us with a golf cart...and here we are trying to avoid all of the other crazy SA drivers and we get tattered by a golf cart with no one else around!  About 5 mins after we left Timmy calls us and is still laughing about it.  We knew at this point that the last hour and half we spent with him meant the world to all 6 of us.  Good ol Timmy...he still hasn't changed!

The game was about 3 hours away and there wasn't really anything too exciting about the game.  Some of you may have watched it.  About the most entertaining

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thing was watching Diego Maradona celebrate the goals!  Our seats were right behind the Argentina bench so we had a good view of this!  Yes, Messi is just as good in real life as he is on TV.  It is simply breathtaking to watch him with the ball.  We sat a few rows in front the Seth Blatter, the president of FIFA!  That was very cool to see!  The game ended 2-0 Argentina and it was off to the park and ride to pick up our now beat up rental car!! Haha.  We made it home just before 2:30am and quickly went to bed.  We needed rest for the USA game tomorrow at 4pm!!!!!!!!

LETS GO STATES!!!!
The SA crew

South Africa, New Zealand, Safaris, Oh My!

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Over the next two weeks, several of our alumni are traveling to South Africa to see many of the World Cup games and experience the culture.  They arrived just earlier this week and are reporting back......here are some more of their stories and pictures!

Day 3

Hey hey hey all of our American friends!!  Well we made it through day 3.  We decided to sleep in a little longer this morning (8:30am) b/c it has been a long first couple days.  Also, we stayed up a little late last nite just talking about the WC games, having some drinks and just reminiscing of our playing days as Bearcats!  Brandon and Justin were up early doing the dishes (yes, as we get older we have become more domesticated) while making coffee for everyone.  A little later the rest of the crew were up and we were all having breakfast trying to decide what to do on our "day off" from games.  We spent the morning catching up on a little

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world news and watching analysis from the US game.  After a while Justin took the wheel for the first time in SA and took all of us to the mall.  There, we met up with Carina to say hi at her store and we set out to explore the mall.  The ladies out there would LOVE this mall.  It was the largest mall any of has ever seen.  It was probably bigger than Kenwood, Tri-County and Florence mall combined.  While there, Ian met up with us and let us borrow his Tom Tom, which turned out to be pretty big time.  We all purchased a great amount of souvenirs and yes, the first Vuvuzela's were purchased.  We really can't wait to get back and annoy all of you with them.  Yes, Hylton, Dan and Jeremy they will be present at the UC games this coming fall, so be prepared!!  After our, what turned out to be a 3 hour trip to the mall, we headed back to our apartment for lunch.  We did stock up a bit on some SA adult beverages.  We had to, b/c the different bottles had WC labels on them so we felt obligated to buy them.

After lunch we headed out to the Monte Casino.  This casino reminded us so much of Vegas; the only difference is that being in SA they had a WC fan zone at the casino.  This means a giant TV about 3 times the one that sits on fountain square with hundreds of fans watching the games and having drinks.  It was quite surreal to be honest.  As futbol fans it was just awesome to all of us to walk into public places that we all would normally be in, in the States, and have EVERYONE so focused on the games.  It was just awesome.  While at the casino Mike and Thomas decided to sit down at a blackjack table.  Why not gamble here in SA, was the thought?!  After about an hour Thomas broke even and Mike was up about R550 (which is about $80 US).  Well done boys!  Brandon decided to go all out and bet R300 on USA red at the Roulette wheel and came up a bit short.

After leaving  the casino we decided to pick up some pizza which turned out to be a little bit of an adventure, including Justin nearly "rubbing" up against some Jalopies (yeah guys, Google that).  But I guess what they say for you NASCAR fans... "Rubbing is racing."  We got back to the apartment with the pizza and sat down to watch the Denmark vs. Cameroon game.  While getting ready to watch the game we got and unexpected call... it was Timmy!!  It was so great to hear from him.  He was just hanging out with the boys and getting ready for their dinner.  He took time out of his busy WC schedule to phone us.  He spent time talking to each of us and seeing how we were doing and being so appreciative of us coming so far to see him to play.  It really meant a lot to all of us.  I am speaking for all of us in saying we are so privileged to have him as such a great part of our lives.  He actually surprised us and got us 5 tickets, front row seats at the midfield, for the Argentina vs. Greece game coming up this Tuesday at 8:30 (2:30 EST), so look for us TV!!  He invited us to "family time" after the Italy game and also to the All Whites nite out with the team after their last game here in SA.  Which pumped us up more than you can imagine b/c we will get to hang out with Timmy and rest of the All Whites before they leave!  How cool is that?!  Honestly, this was one of the best moments of the trip just to hear from Timmy.  We can't be more stoked to go watch him play!  After talking to Tim we had a few minor wagers on the game to which Thomas and Mike cleaned up a bit and Justin was the big loser, but it was all in good fun.  But it doesn't matter b/c we are more or less playing with monopoly money!

As the nite went on we spent time "cheers-ing" each other on having great company here in SA, a great support group back in the States, meeting people from all over the world, getting to hang out with Woody and Paul (Tim's brother), seeing the Stars and Stripes, and most important seeing Timmy play in the WC!!  We spent the nite in the apartment b/c we are heading out to Nelspruit tomorrow early in the morning to watch the All Whites play! 

We all wish you could be here sharing this experience with us.  We have had so many good laughs and good times and its only day 3.  We are looking forward to the next 8 days! 

Until we message again, GO NZ!!!!!!!!

The SA crew

Day 4

First of all we would just like to say that there would be no way to describe the 3 hours of our lives that we were at the Nespruit stadium for the NZ vs. Italy game.  The atmosphere that surrounded the game is absolutely indescribable.  We thought that nothing could top the USA comeback against Slovenia but the NZ vs. Italy game topped the USA game, no doubt about it.  Absolutely magical game. 

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The 4th day started out very early because we had to drive 4 hours to Nespruit for the NZ game.  On the drive out we jammed to South African music and just BSed.  We got out to Nespruit and pulled into our hotel... or so we thought was our hotel.  Wwe pull up to the Protea Nespruit hotel and there was police, security guards and not to mention so many TV cameras.  We had no idea what was going on.  It became evident that the Italian National Team was staying in this hotel.  Justin was escorted into the hotel to the front desk by one of the armed guards.  We soon realized that we were at the wrong Protea hotel.  Our hotel was about 70km from Nespruit, which works out to our benefit.  So after finding out we can't check into hotel we decide to just get ready for the game.  After a great meal at KFC in SA we headed to the Java bar to meet up with Paul Brown (Timmy's brother), and mates.  What a great time!.  We all got to catch up with Paul and mates with what has been going for the last couple years, then headed to the park-and-ride to get to the game.  At the park and ride we met up with a bunch of Kiwis and rode the bus to the game with them and Italians. The bus ride was an experience in itself.   The mix of Kiwis and Italians was pretty cool but the Italians vastly outnumbered the Kiwis but we would have to say that the Kiwis were louder.  We learned some crazy NZ chants and our crew jumped in right away.  We arrive at the stadium, which is one of the new stadiums that were built for the WC.  The Nespruit stadium was built with the idea that it would be held up by giraffes, ask Thomas about how excited he was about the giraffes.  You will be happy to know that we did not have a "Mike Vessels" episode this time.  Everyone had their tickets for the game!  After hanging out on the front lawn of the stadium with about 500 kiwis, having some cocktails and we headed to our seats.  We get to our seats and we are in the middle of the All Whites section, we couldn't me more pumped.  As we were getting ready for the game to start we notice a mate 2 rows in front of us with a Tim Brown jersey and a hat on.  Within a minute Thomas and Brandon notice its WOODY!!!  How crazy is that?!  Woody and his 2 mates come up and sat with us and after about 10 mins WOODY looks behind us 3 rows and yells HONIE!  For those that don't know, Honie is Woody's brother and they were on different "tours" with the NZ group.  For those that know both of them we spent a good amount of time talking about the Reds, Bengals and all of you guys that they met at UC and they told us to tell all of you hello! 

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On to the game.  What an amazing game!  Of course we were all hoping Timmy would make it on the pitch but we have a few pics of him warming up.  For those of you that watched the game you know what happened in the 7th min.  Absolute ecstasy!!  There are no words to describe the atmosphere at the stadium... it was crazy as you could imagine.  After about 100 dives by the Italians they finally got a penalty, which the converted, it was tied 1-1.  Even then, most of the Kiwis weren't too concerned.  As the game went on the excitement grew.  The last 30 mins of the game entailed everyone in the NZ section standing up, taking their shirts off and waving them around their heads.  This included Thomas, Brandon and Justin!  It was pandemonium!  As the final seconds ticked off the chants of, "Ole, Ole, Ole" and "All Whites," All Whites" became louder and louder.  I think I can speak for everyone that it was one of the best moments we have ever been a part of!  We never thought that the comeback for the USA 2 nites before would top our WC experience but this game certainly did.  We all stayed and when I say all stayed, I mean EVERY NZ fan at the game stayed to cheer on the boys afterwards and watch the short training session that they had after the game.  After the training session we all were in the front row of the lower section we were yelling for Timmy.  We were the 1st ones he saw and pointed over at us us.  After the session was over Timmy came over to say hi and spent about 10 or 15 mins talking with us.  At this point of the email I should mention that Timmy is a celebrity amongst the NZ supporters.  This made us feel even more privileged for him to come over and give us a big hug and talk with us.  There were so many NZ supporters that wanted pictures with Timmy.  Brandon requested for one of Timmy's game socks so he gave him one.  He posed for a picture and just chatted with us like it was back in Clifton and we were all out having a drink.  Some things never really change.  Tim is a world class friend to us and we couldn't be more proud of him.  After a short talk with Timmy we had to figure out how the heck to get back to the park-and-ride.  After getting on one bus Justin made friends with some South African and he guided us on our way.  We must mention that everyone here in SA have been so friendly and so helpful, we couldn't be more grateful!   After FINALLY finding the car we decide to head back to the Java bar to meet up with Paul Brown and the mates.  The city of Nespruit closes down one of their major streets every time there is a game in town to have a street party.  They had a DJ so our group spent time doing the Electric Slide with people from all over the world.  It was crazy! After a while we leave the street party and decide to head back to our hotel.  Our hotel was about 70km outside of Nespruit right by the entrance of Kruger National Park.  This turns out to be pretty big time.  This hotel is pretty awesome.  We can't really describe it to do its full justice so you will have to take our word for it.  Justin has the reservation in his name so he goes to check in and as he is checking in the head chef of the hotel restaurant is hanging in the lobby as well.  Justin asks the chef if the restaurant was still open so we can all have a bite to eat.  He informs us that the restaurant is closed but would open it just for us to have a Braai (a Braai is a BBQ in the US).  See, everyone here is awesome!  So we dropped our gear off in our room and head to the restaurant.  It was pretty sweet. We had the place to ourselves!  The food was great as well!  We just sat around, ate, drank and had so many good laughs!  It was like being on cloud 9.  After our dinner we walked around the outside patio and stumbled upon the hotel bar.  We decided to head in for a little and have a beer before hitting the sack for a long day at Kruger National Park.  Well.... That didn't really pan out as we planned.  We met another group of South Africans that were top notch.  We started sharing stories about football, rugby and so many different things.  We had many drinks, some games of pool and just an overall good time!  Since we were guests in their country they would not allow us to purchase drinks for them.  After a while we decided to head back to the room and get ready for tomorrow!

Bottom line is.... GO NZ!!!!! WHAT A CRAZY GAME!

Talk to you all soon!

The SA crew

Day 5

Good Morning to you all again.  Day 5 started out bright and early at 630am b/c it is our trip to Kruger National Park for our Safari!!!!  We will be looking out for the Big 5 which consists of Lions, Elephants, Leopards, Rhinos, and Water Buffalos. 

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With hearing from a lot of locals that we would probably not see any of them we set off with our hopes high.  Before going in we had to stop at a petrol station to fill up and get some water for the trip.  The gate we had to go in was not exactly in the best part of SA so we were a little hesitant to stop for petrol and water...but we did anyway.  We all kept a lookout and stayed in groups and got out of there with no problem....it was off to the SAFARI!!!  We checked in at the gate and it was off we go!  Within the first 5 minutes we spotted a giraffe about 5 feet off the road! 

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What a start...as the day went one we spotted hippos, impalas, boars, warthogs, turkey vultures, zebras, leopard, eland, blue wildebeests, waterbucks, crocodiles, vervet monkeys, chacma baboons, komodo dragon, ground hornbill, and white rhinos.  We spent 6 hours touring around the park and decided that we would head back to Joburg.  For those of you that are unfamiliar with Kruger National Park you can spend 2 weeks in the park and not see all of it!  It is gigantic! 

We set off for home with a 5.5 hour drive and Thomas started and was going to switch half way through.  With it being a Monday there were a lot more trucks and cars on the road....we were unable to drive the speed limit for more of the trip.  When we finally got an opening Thomas hit the gas with only about 2kms to go from being half way.  As we came of a hill there was one of SA's finest sitting on a stoop at the bottom with a radar gun.  His partner promptly ran into the middle of the road to wave us over.  Instead of chasing cars they just jump out in the highway and flag cars down to ticket them for speeding.  They asked for Thomas' license and then immediately started chatting about the World Cup.  We thought we were free of a ticket but turns out that if Thomas just gave him 500 Rand and that was about it...no paperwork, no ticket, no nothing.  Basically its 500 Rand for the police's pocket.

We finally made it back to Joburg around 6 just in time for rush hour traffic...although much to our surprise we didn't have any traffic going our way but for the other direction the highway was at a standstill for 10 miles...not a car was moving.  What is funny about this is that Spain was playing Hondours that night in Joburg.  The buses were stuck in this traffic.  They had to shut down the other side of the highway for them to drive the wrong way on the highway to get to the game on time.  Crazy!

We decided that night we would hang out at the apartment and recharge and get to bed early which is exactly what we did.  We will be going to the Argentina vs. Greece game tomorrow at 830pm up in Polokwane.  Timmy got us these tickets on midfield about 5 rows up!  We will get to hang out with Timmy tomorrow for about an hour before we go to the game so we are really excited about that!  Until tomorrow folks....we are off to explore another wonderful day here in SA!

Cheers

The SA Crew




Updates from South Africa

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Over the next two weeks, several of our alumni are traveling to South Africa to see many of the World Cup games and experience the culture.  They arrived just earlier this week and are reporting back......here are some of their stories and pictures!

Good morning again my fellow followers from the United States.  We began the 2nd day around 8am with showers and breakfast consisting of just coffee....yeah no food yet in the apartment!  We phoned Carina to get us to the errands we need to get in order to survive this wonderful adventure!  While waiting for Carina to show up we took in game 7 of the NBA finals...did you guys know that the Lakers won it cause we didn't know till Friday.  Ahhh the time change and 26 hours of travelling!  We got on the road in our Nissian and followed Carina in her bakkie (pick up truck) to Sandton to get our World Cup tickets.  Brandon took the wheel for the first time and after a few routine left and right turns everyone slowly felt comfortable with him driving for the whole day (which he ended up doing by the way...we will get to all of that in a little bit...stay tuned).  After dodging all of the scalpers (Justin didn't scalp any tickets) outside of the ticket offices we got all of our USA tickets and we were well on our way.  We also charged up a cell phone that Carina had activated for us so that we can make international calls and also get in touch with Woody and Tim's brother Paul for the NZ games.  We met 2 fellows that were from NZ and they appreciated that we came so far to watch the all whites in the World Cup.

After the tickets we hit up the grocery store, Carina's store (where we sent out our initial email and there is also a photo attached of her Biltong.  Biltong is like beef jerky back home), and grabbed a few SA adult beverages.  We hustled back to the apartment to eat lunch b/c we haven't eaten all day and got fully equipped in our USA gear.  It was off to the park and ride...or so we thought........we are supposed to go to the Coca Cola dome which was 20 mins away from the apartment...when we arrived there was no one...I mean no one in the parking lot.....well besided 8 public transit buses.  Carina quickly hopped out and asked where the park and ride was....the bus driver let her know that they had changed it.  GREAT!!!  We are 2.5 hours from game time and we are supposed to be down by Ellis park in 30 mins for all the festivities!!!!   Carina let me know we had to go to a University and we need to go NOW!  Let the games begin...and an hour and a half later of driving through just about every street in Joburg and surrounding suburbs and Jen trying to read a SA map (she was riding with Carina) we decided to drive to the stadium and find a place to park around the stadium.  What this means is a little bit of a walk b/c they shut down blocks surrounding Ellis Park.  While driving through Over-the-Rhine areas over and over again we got close to the Park.  As we got close to the stadium..everyone and I mean EVERYONE was sprinting after our car to get us to park in their lots.  We are still following Carina still at this point...Brandon is about to have an anxiety attack from driving for about 2 hours!  Yeah...we listened to the entire Germany vs. Serbia game...the ENTIRE GAME WHILE DRIVING and Jen was still reading SA maps with Carina!  We found a parking lot that looked a little shady...but with 30 mins till game time we went in.  So here is the deal..you don't pay to park in this lot...you pay someone to watch your car to make sure no one either breaks into it or steals it.  Its like that around Ellis Park.  But we don't pay till we get back...we said ok and about ran to the stadium...20 mins till gametime now...we need to get there for the National Anthem!!!!  As the 5 of us went through security and got searched we all decided to find a meeting a point after the game since none of us had cell phones.  We found a green house to meet after and Brandon, Justin, and Thomas went on their way.  Meanwhile Jen....while waiting for Mike to decide if his bladder was going to cooperate or not (port-a-let or no port-a-let) before the game the other 3 were making their way to their seats.  Jen and Mike proceeded to the gate to show a ticket and get in.......when Mike asked his wife for his ticket which she promptly replied,"I don't have it"....enter freak out mode.  Mike:"What do you mean you don't have it?"  In the next 5 minutes just picture the worst moment in your lives and put yourself in Mike's shoes.  Trash cans, port-a-lets, everyone person wearing FIFA jackets, and running around like some bully just stole his lunch money from the play ground in 3rd grade.  When suddenly an angel from above named Maikai (FIFA rep) asked Mike if he was missing something.  He asked his name and Mike replied,"Mike Vessels".  He wasn't sure if that was his real name when he said it.  He pulled this ticket out of his vest and presented this ticket as if it was the holy grail.  Mike turned into Barney the big purple dinosaur and hugged everyone in sight.  It was pure ecstasy just like the 3rd goal the US scored....um....yeah.  So the game went on....obviously you all know the 1st half was not very fun but the 2nd half was an entirely different story.  We don't think we have ever been so jubulent in our entire lives.  Wow what an experience that was.  There are no words to describe the game.

After the game we talked to Carina and Ian and they were coming down to meet us at our car to ensure that we knew how to get back to the apartment.  Keep in mind they  live 45 mins away.  We don't have enough words for how these 2 have made our lives so much easier down here.  They have gone above and beyond any expectations we ever had.  We made it back to the apartment and all had a beer and watched the 1st half of the dreadful England vs. Algeria game.  Carina had a headache so they went home and we went around the corner to a pub and mixed it up with some locals.  It was a good time getting to know how people live down here.  We went home after the pub and all hung out watching various TV shows....the replay of the US game...and endulged in some SA wine.  We went through our photos from the day (totalling 176) we shared stories of days playing soccer at the University of Cincinnati and especailly reliving the moments with Tim b/c we will see him play on Sunday!!! 

Off to explore more of SA and see what else this wonderful country has to offer!

The SA crew.

Ps....yes the vuvuzela horns are blown the entire game.  We will be joining in at the NZ game on Sunday.

Over the next two weeks, several of our alumni are traveling to South Africa to see many of the World Cup games and experience the culture.  They arrived just earlier this week and are reporting back......here are some of their stories and pictures!

Friday, June 18, 2010 6:24 AM

Hey all.....just wanted to write a quick email to say we made it last night!!!  We have a detailed email that we wrote out but the internet cafe wont let us use our laptop.....we are on Carina's laptop (lady who we are renting the apartment from) in her store so we have to be quick!  We will send a detailed email of our travels and our first game we are going to in 4 hours!!  USA vs. Slovenia!!!  We will talk soon and send photos!!! 


Sat 6/19/2010 5:05 AM - Day 1 Adventures

Hello all!!!!!

WE MADE IT!!!!!!!!  After 2 short flights of 8.5 and 10.5 hours we landed in Joburg at about 9:30pm.  That is roughly 26 hours after leaving cincy!  All in all the flights weren't as bad as anticipated and they seemed relatively short.  I, Brandon, got the luxury of sitting next to Gavin, a 3 year old on his first ever flight from Detroit to Amsterdam.  That's right, an 8.5 hour flight next to this little ball of energy and evil!  After asking his mom 48 times if we were in the air yet while we were still parked at the gate, he promptly spilled all of his orange juice down the side of my leg 10 seconds after he got it.  His mom left it up to me to clean it up.   His encore performance lasted the rest of the trip included wanting to get out of his seat every 30 minutes (I'm on the aisle), kicking me, and yes...his wonderful tempertantrums. His mom tried to bury the hatchet by offering me her egg sandwich before we got off the plane.  I didn't take it. Lets just say I wasn't the ball of sunshine you would expect me to be landing in Amsterdam however everyone else enjoyed the flight full of movies, video games and free beer and wine.

The flight from Amesterdam to Joburg seemed less like a flight and more like an airbourne party with people our parents age.  Heineken and wine was flying out of galley like the world was running out of it.  No one seemed to ever care what was going on including the flight attendants.  Our particular attendant seemed more of a bartender than a flight attendant.  Lets just say that 5 minutes before we landed the fasten seat belt sign was on and about 30 people were standing around having a chat and a drink.  As we landed the 5 of us realized that 3 important things needed to happen now.  There were some anxious moments while exiting the flight.  Were our bags going to make it?  Was Carina going to not only exist but be there to show us how to get to the apartment?  Were the rental car people going to be there with our car?  After we went through  customs....after 20 minutes all of our fears were put to rest...our bags came...and Carina and the rental car people were standing next to each other holding signs with BRANDON DOBBS and MR T W Weable.  At that moment we realized that this trip was going to be the best!  Thomas took the reigns behind the right hand drive on the left side of the road.  To be quite honest...he looked like he had done it before!  We got to the apartment all in one piece!  When we arrived at the apartment with Carina and Ian (her husband) they had a bottle of South African wine and biltong, which is a SA deleciatacy.  It is the equivalent to beef jerky back in the states.  Carina and Ian left and the 5 of us had a glass of wine to settle down from a long day and lights out were around 1:30am.  Big day today with the USA vs. Slovenia game at 4pm SA time.  We will be blowing our vuvuzela horns and hopefully celebrating a USA victory!  Off to start the day.

The SA crew

Movies watched on the flights:

Invictus : 2.5 stars out of 5.  "Fell short of its potential"  Morgan Freeman 2 thumbs up.

Hurt Locker: 3 stars out of 5.  Could have been 3.5 but Justin fell asleep.

Edge of Darkness: 2.5 stars out of 5.  "Lacked plot" Mel Gibson 2 thumbs way down.

Invention of Lying: 3.5 stars out of 5.  Good idea for a movie.  B lists that made cool cameos.

Law Abiding Citizen: 4.5 stars out of 5.  "Gerald Butler was a bad man"  "Storyline kept you guessing"

Alice in Wonderland: 1.5 stars out 5.  Jen watched 13-15 minutes.  Maybe better in 3-D

Precious: 3.5 stars out of 5.  Jen watched and Mike disagreed with this rating but has not seen it.

 

Cheers!!

 

The SA crew



Do you ever wonder what happens to the rest of the world when this tournament is going on?  This article looks at this event from the perspective of several other countries and it is worth a look.

Here is the link .

So, how productive are you during the World Cup games?  At least, I am writing this blog.

Hard at work,

UC Soccer Staff 

Day 6 Recaps - Argentina, Greece, and Mexico earn 3 pts today

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Day 6 Recap

Was another very competitive day of games today.  In the first game, Greece came back from a goal deficit to beat Nigeria 2-1 and earn their first World Cup win ever.  They benefited from a needless red card earned by Nigeria midway through the game.  Although Greece won this game, they will struggle against Argentina in their third game and remain at 3 pts for the tourney.It will be up to South Korea to take care of Nigeria and earn a trip to the second round.  Nigeria, usually an African standout, has been very disappointing playing in Africa.  Another GK error, this time from the usually strong Nigerian keeper made the difference in the score line.  Nigeria had many chances to score even with 10 men but failed to show composure in front of the goal.  From an entertainment value, this game had it all so check out the replay if you missed it. 

In the second game, traditional power Argentina was a joy to watch in the attack as they pushed the tempo and created many scoring chances against a very disciplined and organized South Korea side.  Lionel Messi was nasty in this game and had a hand in all 4 Argentina goals.  Although he didn't score one and his teammate Higuaine recorded a hat trick and scored 3 goals, there is no argument that Messi is the "straw that stirs the drink."  Argentina won 4-1 and took complete control of their group. 

The afternoon game featured 2 excellent teams on paper, 2006 World Cup runner-up France against CONCACAF stallwart Mexico.  France needed to prove that their first game was a fluke and they didn't get it done.  Mexico wins 2-0 and looks very good in the game.  France didn't play well as a team and fell to a CONCACAF team for the first time in history.  Les Bluess will most likely make an early exit like they did in 2002, they either go big or go home and this year it appears as though they are done.......please try to score a goal in your third game, your team is loaded with high profile EPL and UEFA stars.  On the other hand, Mexico is hot and I would not want to have to play them in the second round or the quarters....nice blend of young players and mature experienced veterans that play as a team on both sides of the ball.

Be sure to watch the Day 7 games tomorrow!

Germany vs. Serbia at 7:30 AM

USA vs. Slovenia at 10 AM

England vs. Algeria at 2:30 PM

Go USA!  We need 3 points any way we can get it!

UC Soccer Staff

Day 4 and Day 5 Recaps - What you missed

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Just trying to get caught back up, these links have multiple games on them -

Day 4 Recaps

Netherlands looked classy and played good attacking football and were rewarded with 2 goals against the Danes (Denmark).  Very impressed with Dutch subs who game in and changed the game.  #17 Elia came on as left midfielder and immediately showed why he is the future of Clockwork Orange.....athletic, skillful, pacy, composure in front of goal.  What this guy play, he looks super human at times.

Japan were resilient and determined against Cameroon and were rewarded with a 1-0 win.  Cameroon disappointed with a lack of creativity in the attacking third, they played more direct than most African nations usually do.  Hopefully, Cameroon can use their WC experience and rally in their second and third games.

Italy and Paraguay drew 1-1 thanks to yet another GK error by Paraguay.  Both these teams seemed poised to advance in their group and this result might just help them do so.  With all 4 teams having tied 1-1, advantage will always go to the teams that have been there before.  New Zealand and Slovakia will both struggle against these teams in the next round.


Day 5 Recaps

Late goal by New Zealand gives Kiwis a chance to celebrate their first point ever in a World Cup.  Having only been here once 28 years ago, New Zealand's WC history was losing 3 games, conceding 12 goals, and scoring none.....so they have really to celebrate how far they've come.  No appearance by UC's own Tim Brown due to injury 3 weeks prior to this game, we hope that he'll be healthy to contribute in the All Whites next match or two.   Best of luck to both of these teams as the road will get much steeper from here on out.

For such a quality match-up on paper, the Ivory Coast vs. Portugal 0-0 draw was a poorly played game.  Both teams failed to commit everything that they had to win the game.  Seeing Christiano Ronaldo hit the post and Drogba play the last 30 minutes were expected, but seeing the Ivory Coast fail to serve a corner kick in at the end of the game was very disappointing.  One of those teams is going to regret not playing this game with a little bit more vigor because Brazil will advance from this Group G of death.....therefore, someone will be going home earlier than they had hoped......Portugal most likely to exit now with North Korea.

Brazil defeats North Korea 2-1 and North Korea competed very well but were simply outmatched in this game.  A GK error early in the second half helped Brazil to break the game open and be rewarded for their persistent attacking style.  North Korea fought with pride and were rewarded with a late goal against the run of play.  Don't think this goal will prove costly at the end of Group play, but you never know.  Brazil still on track to win Group G but they will need to be in form to do it.

Sorry for the delay getting you caught back up, these games are so intriguing that my entire day schedule is turned on it's hear to see the games as they happen.  Stay tuned for some second round action coming up.  This is where things get interesting.  Expect to see 2 or 3 players have multiple goal games in their run for the golden boot award.  Please let us know who you think has a good chance of winning it.

Second Round, here we go...........

UC Soccer Staff

World Cup Upset Alert! Swiss Shock Spain in Group H play

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Switzerland upsets Spain 1-0 shocking the soccer world!  Despite being out possessed, out shot, and out played for most of the game, the resilient Swiss scored a second half counter goal to defeat one of the tourney favorites, Spain.

Check out the recap .  Having picked them as my World Cup Champs, I must feel kind of silly right now as does most of the soccer world.  Even if Spain recovers and wins their next 2 games, it is likely that we may see Spain against Brazil in the second round which would be more like a final than a second round game.

Tactically, Spain did everything they could to create quality chances especially in the first half.  But compact organized defending and good GK play allowed the Swiss to preserve a shutout.  Spain did not lose a game in all of WC qualifying, going 10 - 0 and only conceding a few goals while scoring them in bunches.  They will be back and I still have faith that they will advance.

In earlier Group H action, Chile outplayed Honduras and won 1-0 in a one sided affair.  Chile should have scored 2 or 3 in the second half as well but Honduras GK made the save of the tourney.  Chile is a side to contend with and they very likely to win this group if they can hold serve against the Swiss and get a point from Spain.  Check out the recap of the Chile-Honduras game.

Stay tuned this afternoon, cheer on Bafana Bafana (South Africa) as they look to enjoy host nation power against Uruguay.  This is a pivotal game for both teams that need 3 points to take control of the group.  Game time at 2:30 pm. EST today.

Don't you just love World Cup time!

UC Soccer Staff

Catching Up from the Weekend

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Good Monday morning!  It's always a little easier to be at work when there are three World Cup matches on throughout the day.

A few things to catch up on from the weekend:

This will be very important for the U.S. going forward: U.S. to Evaluate Tim Howard Rib Injury
Howard was easily the best player on the U.S. side against England, making numerous saves, including a few spectacular ones.  The Americans will need him in goal if they expect to get out of group play, especially after the Slovenia-Algeria result from Sunday.

Some great ratings for the U.S. - England match on ABC.  At the local Kroger and Biggs grocery stores over the weekend, we spotted several shoppers sporting team USA gear and I would venture that a lot of the hot dogs, burgers, chips, and libations were being purchased for any number of World Cup watch parties. 

Interesting read on World Cup attendance issues.

A couple things on the ESPN broadcasts.  The worldwide leader has done a tremendous job of providing insight with its bevy of former players and managers from around the world.  I have been very impressed with Bob Ley's anchoring duties.  He is one of the all-time great broadcasters and it is clear he has done his World Cup homework. 

One thing we could probably use less of is the slo-mo instant replays.  Very cool technology and it is useful at certain moments, but a slo-mo of every "hands-on-the-head after rifling a shot 12 yards over goal" is a bit much.

Here's a neat piece on the voices of the World Cup on ESPN.  Glad they didn't just plug their own people in there.  Can you imagine Chris Berman shouting "Dempsey to Donovan and he COULD GO ALL THE WAY"?

Just settling in to watch the remainder of the Japan-Cameroon match.  The Netherlands defeated Denmark, 2-0, in the early match.  Italy begins its defense of the cup this afternoon against Paraguay.  Enjoy!

UC Soccer Staff