CHICKASHA — I'm not going to hide the fact I am a huge soccer fanatic.
So before I explain why one of the newest soccer teams in the nation is a perfect example of what Oklahoma is all about, I just wanted to give full disclosure. I've seen it change lives for the better in both young and old, and the sport has a special place in my heart.
But, there's no doubting that Oklahoma's newest sports team, Oklahoma City FC, is the one team everyone in this state should support. The team is brand new, playing their first season in what's known as the Premier Development League. Their division includes teams from Laredo, Austin, Houston and West Texas.
And while people from Oklahoma do enjoy getting one over their southern rivals, this team deserves love for a different reason. They are not your typical professionals.
Many players at this level have other jobs. They keep shop, work in restaurants, teach or coach. Some of them even study as they continue toward a path to professionalism.
They are the working men (and women, since the same team is also represented in the ladies' professional league) of America. They live day-by-day, just like you; working toward a paycheck while not giving up on that American dream.
These athletes do not flaunt their wealth in the media with flashy cars or homes, because they don't have any wealth. They get by with your basic car, cable, food, phone, and boots (or cleats for those not attune to soccer lingo).
But, they don't give up. Playing in the PDL is certainly a step up from many players in the country, but it's no where close to being true professional. It's there so they can strive for greatness even when the big whigs of Major League Soccer and the slightly smaller whigs of United Soccer Leagues have turned away for the moment.
We all have dreams, or at least strive for something that will take us further in life. In the early stages of this great nation, people just like the Oklahoma City FC players wanted more from their life. What's more, they wanted the ability to chase what they wanted.
Some of those people came from abroad to become American and chase that dream. Those same kinds of foreigners can be found on an Oklahoma City FC roster.
Lately, many people say Americans, particularly the youth, have lost touch with this idea. They want things to be easy and have jobs, money, benefits, a perfect life essentially given to them.
Those who know America know that is not how life works. Oklahoma FC City players are a living example. And yet, they keep going.
Aren't those the people, the hard workers and big dreamers, the ones who deserve our attention, our gratitude, and our help?
Tickets start at $10, they play Austin at home this weekend, and it all goes toward an organization that keeps the American dream going for those willing to work. What better argument do you need?
Contact Sports Editor Adam Troxtell via e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org, or connect via Twitter and follow @ExpressStar_AT.