Millions of fans across the United States will cheer on the US national team this summer as they vie for honors at the World Cup in Brazil, and for the second straight time, Vice President Joe Biden will be one of the lucky few who get to watch in person.
The White House revealed that President Barack Obama's right-hand man will attend one of the USMNT's three group-stage matches after Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and a bevy of other luminaries welcomed the World Cup trophy to Dulles International Airport outside the nation's capital on Monday.
The stopover was the first of four US destinations for the famous golden prize in the latter stages of a 90-country, 221-day, 92,000-mile tour around the world on a specially charted plane which will conclude in Brazil ahead of this summer's tournament.
Biden took in the USMNT's 1-1 draw with England in South Africa four years ago, and even visited the team in the locker room beforehand.
“It was an honor to be at the last World Cup, watching Spain win,” said Biden on Monday. “It was a thrill to actually stand here with the cup, it's the real deal … You have to attend a World Cup, if you ever wonder what it means to people. It’s the most unusual sporting event I’ve ever attended, and I’ve attended thousands, probably, in my career. It’s a feel, and you can feel it even before you get anywhere near the stadium, you can feel it even before you land.
“It’s in the air, it’s a palpable sense of energy that I’ve never quite experienced before. It’s the most consequential sporting event in the world. It’s amazing how deeply, deeply, deeply passionate every country is about the World Cup. ”
Biden, who admitted that he played gridiron football growing up but has since been charmed by the world's most popular sport, also provided a light-hearted warning to the rest of the planet.
“When it comes to soccer, America is coming on,” he said. “It's not historically been our game … but 25 million people in the United States play soccer; 80 percent of them are young people who will be players and fans for years to come. And our Major League Soccer teams are selling out stadiums, and our national teams are looking strong. And the world should know: We're coming ready to play.”