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2008 Texas Pro Soccer Festival Wrap-Up



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So, I’ve had a little time to rest up after the past week, and what a week it was.

It wrapped up on Sunday with the final two matches of the doubleheader, as Houston and D.C. played for the tournament title.

The Dynamo fans said that they were bringing several busloads for Sunday’s match, and they weren’t kidding. We got there only a few minutes before the match started, but when we got there, the stands were packed with Dynamo fans, who brought streamers, balloons, and their voices, which kept going from the first minute to the 90th.

The Dynamo went ahead in the 53rd minute, which put them on course to win the tournament outright, but when D.C. equalized in the 78th minute, there were a lot of nervous people. There would’ve been a lot of disappointed people at the end, had D.C. scored off of a late header that Pat Onstad needed every bit of his 6’4 frame to get to and knock away. That save was the difference between D.C. winning the trophy and Houston claiming it on goals scored, which sent a lot of Dynamo fans home happy.

In the final game, Toronto and Chivas treated those who were there to an early goalfest, as four goals between the 12th and 30th minute had things knotted at 2 at halftime. Toronto took the lead in the 63rd minute on a Jeff Cunningham penalty, and held on from there to pick up their first win and leave Chivas as the only team to lose all three of their matches.

I was a little sad to say goodbye to San Antonio, not only because it felt like the week had flown by, but because it had been such a great week.

Wednesday night was actually the first time I’d seen soccer live, but I know it’s only the first time of many. Those Dynamo fans travel well, and I’m looking forward to making at least a couple of their home games this season.

I’ll also be following Toronto FC – you can see that they’re improving little by little, and with a mix of young talent and experience, and a good coach in John Carver, big things are in the future for TFC.

The past week also did a lot to bring me out of my shell. I’ve never really been the world’s most outgoing person, which meant that my interviewing skills weren’t something I felt too strongly about coming into the week. But, after some initial nervousness on Tuesday, I improved by leaps and bounds over the rest of the week, and I’m a lot more confident now in that area.

I met a lot of great, hardworking people as well. From Jason, Steve, Ed, and Chris with Ziga-Zoga and SAMYS, who worked their asses off to organize and put together a top-notch event in a short time, and should really take a vacation soon, to Ethan, whose foundation (http://www.grassrootsoccer.org – I got it right this time : ) ) and Philip, whose Footballers for Peace foundation will do a lot of good things in the future, and Iris and I hope to be a part of them.

It was also nice to be able to work alongside my better half, and I think there’s plenty more in store for the Dynamic Duo.

And hey, I can’t forget about the food! I’ve eaten plenty in my days, so I can appreciate some good food. From the ‘roided shrimp, giant burgers, and barbecue buffet at the hotel, to the pizza from that place down the street which reminded me of a lot of drunken (and sober) days and nights in college, to the messy, meat and sauce-filled brisket sandwich on Sunday, we got our fill, to say the least.

All in all, it was a great week, and I won’t forget it anytime soon.