You know it’s a major victory when former U.S. President Bill Clinton is joining the locker room celebrations.
Clinton, who is also the honorary chairman of the USA World Cup Bid Committee, was in attendance at Wednesday’s epic US vs. Algeria match-up and was escorted to the dressing rooms where he joined the US National Team celebrations after the dramatic stoppage time victory in Pretoria.
He also gave a brief speech and it proved the only quiet moment in what was reportedly a boisterous locker.
“As someone who cares about our country,” Clinton said to the players. “You made me proud to be an American.
“I'm proud of you because you didn't let the frustration of all the shots that you almost made get you down,” he continued. “You are amazing!"
“Surreal,” said USA and Chivas USA left back Jonathan Bornstein to Yahoo Sports. “Just surreal. The former President is telling us we made him proud to be American?”
Clinton, who was sporting a red-and-white checkered shirt and blue tie, was on hand for the match at Loftus Versfeld Stadium and joined FIFA President Joseph Sepp Blatter, US Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati and MLS Commissioner Don Garber in a VIP box.
The former President emerged from the locker room celebrations after 45 minutes and even spoke to reporters albeit with a hoarse voice.
“It was a great game,” Clinton said to reporters after visiting with the team. “You know, all great contests become head games at some point -- sports, elections, wars. And they [USMNT] have good heads and good hearts.”
Clinton will take advantage of his trip to Africa to also tour various projects of the Clinton Foundation. His travels started in Tanzania and he will next stop in Malawi after a few days in South Africa.
He met with South African President Jacob Zuma before the USA Group C finale and will meet former South African President Nelson Mandela on Thursday.
"He is very charismatic, you can tell how touched he was by the moment and it was really nice to have that," Donovan told reporters after the game.