Kudos Soca Warriors

As I keep myself as separate as possible from xenophobic US culture (the world calls it football, you Yanks call it “soccer”; what’s up with that?), it’s no surprise that the World Cup football competitions are a huge event in my globally oriented household. We tend to root for everyone to do well, even the hardworking US team, though our fave without question is the team from tiny Trinidad and Tobago, the boys from T-n-T, aka the Soca Warriors.

Well, the Caribbean squad went to Germany and put on a great show of strength and determination. Last week’s 2-0 loss to Paraguay ended the Warriors’ drive for the Cup, but no worries. They know their country and fans are marvelling at the unheralded footballers’ unlikely achievement. From the team’s Web site:

“It’s a massive disappointment,” captain [Dwight] Yorke said. “…[W]e wanted to win the game. We wanted to score a goal at the end of it all. That would have made the whole campaign a huge success.”

It is, however, one that will only slightly muddy the glorious campaign accomplished by the tournament’s smallest participants while their coach Leo Beenhakker has now taken charge of seven World Cup games – four previously with the Netherlands – without a victory, which is a record.

But it would be a rank injustice if that is what the Dutchman is remembered for. He and a modest group of players, the self-styled Soca Warriors, can hold their heads up high.

Yorke, who hinted that he might, once again, retire, said afterwards: “This is a moment of history for the country, the people, the supporters. The way we have played and conducted ourselves makes me very proud.”

I might be encouraged to throw on Taylor Hicks’ number one hit, “Do I Make You Proud?” right about now, but quoting one of the Warriors’ soca-flavored theme songs seems most appropriate. Hear the lively fight song and more here; you can download Chris Garcia’s “Wunderbar” as an MP3 here.

Deutschland, Deutschland
Here come the Soca
Here come the Soca Warriors.
Deutschland, Deutschland
Here come the Soca Warriors.
Wunderbar!”

Or, as Maximus Dan sings it, “I am a So-o-o-ca Warrior. I say win or lose, I am a fighter! … Every time you see me in my uniform, to get the victory is our norm.”

They went, they footballed, and while they didn’t conquer, they certainly hung tough, played hard, went much farther than anticipated. The Soca Warriors made their island nation — and their fans throughout the Caribbean and around the world — extremely gratified and proud. Wunderbar, indeed.

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