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HAIL! GFOP

It’s Coming Home. I write with fingers still a-tingle after yesterday's epic feast o’ football, which saw our magnificent US Women go back to back, Brazil win their first trophy in 12 long years, and our US Men… not so much. 

1. Your US Women are World Cup Champions. Let us not take that for granted. Our 23 overcame the enormous distraction of the equality lawsuit, a social media tilt with the President, and the most competitive field the Women’s World Cup has ever experienced. An incredible feat from both a sporting and cultural perspective that required the kind of mental strength that is borderline superhuman. The technical and tactical balance of power may be shifting towards the European game, but our women are, in the words of Jurgen Klopp, “mentality monsters.”  

The spotlight will now shine on Rose Lavelle AKA Skyline Chili Messi, who was the American player of the tournament, and Megan Rapinoe who is approaching the Arthur Ashe-Billie Jean King ether of athletes who have fused cause to sports. What they and their teammates now say and do in terms of the equality debate may be as seismic off the field as the moves they have just made on it. Brace yourself for a raft of retirements from international duty. The likes of Poet-Warrior Becky Sauerbrunn, Tenacity’s Kelley O’Hara, and yes, Megan Rapinoe will ponder their futures. They are all so smart and committed, I can imagine US Soccer will have its first woman president before long, because these players have standing in our game like no other. Just imagine the impact of that move on the equality debate…

You can listen to our our Instant Reaction “World Cup Champions” Pod HERE.

And time travel back to before the tournament started with our American Legend Series, Presented by Budweiser, a series of interviews that chronicle these footballers' dreams and the sacrifices they've had to make. 

2. The fight to grow the American women’s club game starts NOW. Back at the Golden Blazer Live Show in May, we were live on stage with Megan Rapinoe, and we talked about how one brand needs to step up and invest in the NWSL because they could own the entire league and gain all that goodwill. How things change. Megan is now a rock star, and yesterday, Budweiser stepped up to sponsor the NWSL. We couldn't be prouder to be their partner. Drink Budweiser. Support Women’s Soccer!!!

BTW. Check out how Rog’s Bud Tour Jackets prophecized both the score in the final, and the two scorers. What other explanation could there be other than Rog is a seeer?

3. Parabens, Brazil. 2019 Copa America winners. Vanquishing Peru, owners of the best jersey design in world football. The big question: Will a player named Everton winning Copa America be the closest Everton ever get to winning a Trophy?

4. As for our US Men who lost 1-0 to a Mexico second string in the Gold Cup final last night. My mantra: “Let’s try and be positive. Let’s try and be positive. Let’s try and be positive.” We are in a rebuild. Yes, a win on this day, in the shadow of the women’s glory, and with Gregg Berhalter seeking to turn the page on the bleakest two years, would have carried a symbolic heft, but I keep repeating this in an attempt to summon optimism in a similar (but opposite) way Arya Stark used to mutter her Kill List: “Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Tim Weah, Josh Sargent, Zack Steffen, Christian Pulisic.” There will, please old gods and the new, be better days ahead.

5. Now the the World Cup is over and we’re officially transitioned to the part of the footballing calendar that features world class players posting videos of themselves working out without being noticed in Central Park, we’re off to cover the golf. We’ll be doing five nights of television shows (Wednesday, July 17 - Sunday, July 21) for NBCSN on location at Royal Portrush. It is an honor and a delight to cover a sport we actually know something about for a change. Look for us on NBCSN and the brilliant Golf Channel. We have a ton of preview content launching this week. Game of Thrones fans will love it...

6. Our Budweiser “It’s Coming Home” Tour continues as soon as we are back. Orlando we are headed to you for MLS All-Star week. We genuinely cannot wait to come down and celebrate a part of the country Davo used to live in. We are begging Grant Hill to come on stage and re-live those years with us. We will have MLS stars, one of whom thinks he is a lion, on stage, and giants of the women’s game up there with us, too. TICKETS TO OUR MIB MLS ALL STAR EXTRAVAGANZA LIVE IN ORLANDO, PRESENTED BY WELLS FARGO ARE HERE

Atlanta, we are coming to you Aug. 13. Washington DC, brace yourself for Aug. 19. Details on both those shows are forthcoming. And while we are talking about DC, Episode 2 of our Wayne Rooney Podcast can be found HERE.

It is genuinely the honor of a lifetime to tour America, experience the different fan cultures that have grown city to city, and eat all your Jucy Lucys, Hot Chicken, and Fried Raviolis. Thanks to Bud and to our partners at Jagermeister for giving us the support to make it happen. We do not take it for granted. 

7. I read this book over July 4th. "Places and Names," by Elliot Ackerman, a Marine who earned the Silver Star and a Purple Heart. He is also an unbelievable writer. It explores his experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the connection between courage and fear. One of the best books I have read this year.

8. Ever since we were in Nashville where I went to the Country Music Hall of Fame, I have been listening to Emmy Lou Harris’ classic album, "Wrecking Ball" which she recorded with Daniel Lanois. This song, Where Will I Be has played on repeat. From now on, whenever I hear it, I will be transported back to this last week of the 2019 World Cup colliding with July 4th and  the American idea that drew me to these shores, still burning strong. To me, all that is good of it is embodied in our US Women’s National Team: Defiance. Confidence. Diversity. The ability to excel and provide collective moments of human wonder. And above all, Equality. I love you, America. 🇺🇸

Suck it, Piers Morgan.

Go, Go, USA.

Courage,
Rog: @rogbennett 

On behalf of
MiB: @meninblazers
Davo: @embassydavies
Producer JW: @JonoWilly
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“We should be careful / Of each other, we should be kind / While there is still time.”

Philip Larkin
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