American Renaissance

Crowd Chants ‘Usama!’ at U.S. Soccer Team, Feb. 11

GUADALAJARA, Mexico — The boos nearly drowned out “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and a few dozen fans chanted “Usama! Usama!” as the United States was eliminated by Mexico in Olympic men’s soccer qualifying.

A loud anti-American crowd yelled the first name of Usama bin Laden, the leader of the Al Qaeda terrorists who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks, as Mexico beat the United States 4-0 Tuesday night in the under-23 tournament, claiming a berth in the Athens Olympics.

As U.S. players left the stadium for their bus, several fans — some clutching beers — chanted “Usama! Usama!”

Police in riot gear held back the crowd and urged people to calm down.

“I think the fans here in Mexico are terrific; I think their patriotism and support of their team is terrific,” U.S. coach Glenn Myernick said. “But unless I missed something, not one of them came down on the field and kicked the ball. We were beaten by a better football team tonight, not by the fans.”

For Mexico, the game partly avenged a 2-0 loss to the United States in the second round of the 2002 World Cup, a far more important tournament involving national teams.

The U.S. men will miss the Olympics for the first time since 1980--when the entire American delegation boycotted the Moscow Games. Mexico also ended the United States’ 19-tournament streak of qualifying for every FIFA men’s outdoor event, including the World Cup, the Olympics, the World Youth Championship for players under 20 and the Under-17 World Championship.

While both Mexican national television networks broadcast Tuesday’s game live in Mexico, there was no television in the United States, where the game was broadcast on closed circuit to about 190 restaurants.