by BRENT LATHAM
September 22, 2009
The United States is in the Land of the Sphinx for the Under-20 World Cup
Greetings from Cairo. I've just touched down and am ready to kick off nearly two months following the American youth teams on their adventures through the African continent. In about a month, the U-17 team that has everyone excited at the chance for a FIFA World Cup title for the US will kick off against Spain in Nigeria, and we'll (vaccinations and visas pending) be there.
But the first stop on this tour is alongside the River Nile, where the Under-20 tournament is about to kick off, on Thursday, with the fanfare you would expect for small country. In the US, where we host mega-events on an almost daily basis, it's easy to underestimate the importance to a small country of hosting an event like this. But make no mistake, this event is a milestone for Egypt and Egyptian soccer, and they're pulling out all the stops, from a receiving committee and red carpet at the airport for anyone that can show they have anything to do with FIFA, to the best hotels in the country for the numerous FIFA staff in attendance here, including CONCACAF President Jack Warner and FIFA Chair Sepp Blatter. (YA stays in more pedestrian lodging, preferring to brush elbows with the real fans of the game.)