Brian Remedi recalls jumping out of his seat this summer when John Brooks’ header put the United States men’s national soccer team ahead against Ghana at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Remedi, the U.S. Soccer Federation Chief Administrative Officer for U.S. Soccer, spoke about the World Cup as part of a fundraiser for State Rep. Mike Unes (R-East Peoria) on Wednesday night at the Clock Tower Place Fondulac Room.
The former Bradley soccer player sat down prior to the event and talked about attending the World Cup, along with a number of other U.S. soccer topics.
“Each World Cup has kind of some different stories and components,” said Remedi, a BU player from 1990-93, whose trip to Brazil was his fourth World Cup.
“This one was very memorable.”
He called the 2-1 victory over Ghana a “home game for us,” and initially thought the match would result in a tie.
But that all changed in the 86th minute with the go-ahead goal.
“It was a special moment,” Remedi said.
Outside of Brazil, the Americans represented the largest ticket base with 200,000 sold, according to Remedi.
The USSF hosted events or “pep rallies” the night before each match, with 6,000 people attending the rally prior to the Germany match.
But those U.S. fan efforts were made in the states, as well. Viewing parties in Chicago — headquarters of the USSF — at Grant Park and Solider Field along with ones at many of the Major League Soccer stadiums and different smaller locations across the country.
“We went into this World Cup with a very succinct plan,” said Remedi, who has been with the USSF since 2009.
“It was, ‘Do everything we can in Brazil to support the team and connect with our fans in Brazil, but also if we get on a little bit of a roll, light the fire back home.”
Some of the other subjects he covered:
Being in the tough Group G: “People had us as underdogs in the group. Tough group. Ghana, who we’ve not been able to beat, Portgual — top team, top player (Cristiano Ronaldo) — and Germany, obviously, the eventual champions. I don’t think people fancied our ability to get out of the group.”
U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard’s 16-save performance against Belgium: “It’s a great story, because he’s an American playing at the highest level of the game. He’s one of the best goalies in the world and he’s a really good man. You want the good guy to succeed. In Brazil, he was playing at the very top of his game. It’s easy to get behind (his story).”