An interesting idea which came up in a chat over tea with Bryan; well at least I was drinking tea, wouldn’t be able to tell you about the gaffer as it was an instant message exchange. But we had this idea of profiling some iconic moments in soccer history, and the boots that featured. We tossed around some great moments in soccer, but there was always one which would have to lead off the series, with this being an American based website. So sit back grab yourself a cup of tea as we explore the first SC101 Iconic Moments in Soccer and the Boots They Wore.
Despite starting out their opening two matches of the 2010 World Cup terribly, conceding three goals in the opening half of their first two matches. The United States team had managed to battle to an
unexpected 1-1 draw against England. The second match saw the US dig itself a 2 goal hole before a spirited second half come back secured another point against group leading Slovenia in their second match. It was the third match versus Algeria which put the US team in an interesting if unenviable situation, draw or lose and you get the next flight back to JFK, win and you not only stick around for at least another week but also you accomplish something which no US team has done in 80 years, winning a group at the World Cup.
It was a match which gave Bob Bradley a chance to avenge the poor performance under Bruce Arena four years prior, and also to cement his name in the US soccer history book that he wasn’t just a second choice manager (unfortunately it turns out he was). As was expected the US came out of the blocks slowly against the Fennec Foxes, with Algeria hitting the crossbar early doors. The American side grew into the match as they had the previous two matches, Jozy Altidore volleyed wide, Clint Dempsey had a goal chalked off for offside. Later on Deuce rattled the cross bar, and on the rebound put the ball just wide of the wide open net. Try as the US might it seemed that they were destined to be on a plane headed back to JFK with three draws in the group stage.
Then in injury time with heartbeak beckoning, this happened: [ot-video type=”youtube” url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbn3rOPmR9w”]
The video gives off more emotion than any Canadian writing about it four years later ever could, but for me that was the day that America truly embraced soccer. Everyone from young boys to old ladies crowded into public venues to watch their country play soccer, and when they needed a hero most. Up stepped arguably the greatest American player in the history of the National Team, Landon Donovan to put home not the prettiest goal in terms of finishing; but definitely one of the prettiest goals in terms of feeling. What boot was Donovan wearing when he scored this iconic goal? The Nike CTR 360 Maestri.
Donovan was the first big named US player to take up the control boot and it was a boot which suited him to the ground. The CTR series was beloved by those of us who fancy ourselves as maestros, and no boot exemplified the control revolution more than the 2010 World Cup colourway Maestri. A boot which made the world stand up and go “Woah!”. It was a boot which made Adidas completely redesign the famed Predator series to try and compete. It was a boot which, and I channel my inner Jeremy Clarkson here, was probably the greatest control boot… in the world. Most importantly it’s the boot which kicks off our list of “Iconic Moments in Soccer and the Boots They Wore”.