By Lloyd Graff
I’m starting to see why the world loves the World Cup, thanks to the ESPN coverage. Fabulous athletes, monstrous egos and nutty coaches abound. Referees are inept, the ball is booed, the British hate their goalie, and rugby renown New Zealand has tied two of the supposed world powers. France hates its team, whose coach won’t play certain top players because he thinks they have the wrong astrological sign.
The connection between the machining world and soccer has been clear to me since visiting PGI International in Houston several years ago. Spence Nimberger and his associate Jose Garza have built the company into a big player in oil and gas industry hardware. They have a “futbol” field adjacent to their factory, where their largely Mexican workforce plays the “world’s game” during lunch and breaks. According to Spence, the soccer field is a major plus in the competition for skilled workers in Houston.
Dave Knuepfer, whose firm, DuPage Machine Products, lies west of Chicago, also says the soccer field is a way to connect with his Hispanic workforce, the backbone of the shop floor team.
Illegal immigration is warming up again as a political hot button, but in the real world of machinist recruitment, the symbol of Anglo-American friendship on the soccer field is a shrewd way to send out a welcome message.
Question: Is soccer becoming the new baseball in the U.S.?