Obama says US rooting for World Cup squad
WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama told the US World Cup squad he''d be pulling for them as they represent the country on one of sport''s greatest world stages next month in South Africa.
Obama acknowledged that the footballing extravaganza didn''t always resonate with US sports fans more atuned to baseball, basketball and gridiron football, but he told the team they had plenty of support.
"Everybody is going to be rooting for you. Although sometimes we don''t remember here in the United States, this is going to be the biggest world (stage) and you''re going to be representing all of us," he said. "We are incredibly proud of what you''ve done already."
Known as an avid basketball fan, Obama said he''d be keeping tabs on the footballers'' World Cup progress.
"You will have somebody in the Oval Office who''s going to be watching ESPN to make sure that things are going OK," he said.
Vice President Joe Biden, who will attend America''s World Cup opener against England on June 12, was also at the White House to greet the team.
Also on hand was former President Bill Clinton, who was recently named the honorary chairman of the bid committee trying to bring the World Cup back to the United States in 2018 or 2022.
Clinton, who also plans to attend some World Cup matches, was taken with the team''s attire for the visit - particularly their tan dress shoes.
"I want to be on this team just for the shoes," Clinton said. "This is the only team that I''ve ever seen that had these cool shoes."
Obama, who earlier in the day met with Duke University''s collegiate champion basketball team, agreed the World Cup squad were winners in the fashion stakes.
"Those are some sharp shoes," he agreed.
The United States host Turkey in a friendly match at Philadelphia on Saturday and depart for South Africa on Sunday.