American fans give up Thanksgiving to travel to World Cup
By David Hiltbrand
20 November 2016
If you have a job and own a television, you will soon be able to watch the World Cup on any time during the day or night.
This is a development that many football fans have been waiting for, and many are happy to have it. But the day after Thanksgiving, Americans awoke to the news that their football teams are now traveling across the world to compete.
On Thursday, the United States and Canada will begin their games at the Women’s World Cup, which this year begins on Thursday in Canada, and the men’s tournament begins the next day in Germany.
As of early Friday morning, the U.S. had lost 11 of its past 12 games and was second-to-last in the eight-team tournament. The Americans were ahead of only Turkey on Wednesday morning.
Since 2015, when the North American Soccer League—now called MLS Soccer—began, Americans have traveled to all but one World Cup, in 2010.
Last summer was the first time the U.S. ever did not participate in the World Cup, when it was eliminated at the group stage by Portugal.
The U.S. has failed to qualify for the World Cup on three occasions. It did not qualify for the 2002 tournament, which was held in Japan, because of the U.S. Army’s failure to complete the required military service for all eligible American service personnel.
This time the Americans are not going without any help. The government of Canada has already promised tens of millions of dollars to keep the U.S. World Cup in this country and to provide any necessary medical and transportation assistance for the Americans.
“We knew that in the event the team didn’t qualify, we could use it for the players’ health and to keep them focused on the World Cup,” said Steve Luton, the commissioner of the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA), in an interview with CNN.
Luton said he is in discussions with the Canadian Soccer Association and the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) about hosting similar World Cup qualifying tournaments in the United States.
“We’re open to it. We’re not against it,” he said, but added, “we’d need assurances that it was going to