Home > Uncategorized > Villa and Ardiles World Cup Decision: More Thoughts

Villa and Ardiles World Cup Decision: More Thoughts


I’ve written a piece on the decision of two Argentine legends who both played club football for a time in Fort Lauderdale to back England’s 2018 World Cup bid.

Let me give more explanation as to why the decision bothers me. In 1982, when the Falklands War broke out both Ardiles and Villa were met with hostility throughout England in a way that would not happen in the United States, say had we broken into war with Argentina. Villa literally fled to south Florida to play for the Strikers, the team I served as a ball boy for at the time.

With a large Argentine community in south Florida, Villa felt comfortable, and cries of “Villa!, Villa!” rained over Lockhart Stadium. When the US broke into a war with Serbia in 1999, the Kansas City Wizards had two players that were born in Serbia. Neither faced any large scale hostility on the road. In 2000, two Iranian players, Mohamed Khakpour and Khodobad Azzizi played in MLS and received a warm welcome.

There are countless more examples of the generosity of American fans towards foreign footballers. The USSF, must leverage this situation into a positive for the US bid. With a large number of NASL players still playing a key role in FIFA now, if a choice for 2018 comes down to the US vs England, the credibility of England’s bid is stronger because of the prominent footballers backing it. This is despite the fact that on the surface, the US has a better infrastructure for hosting major events, better stadiums, and an ethnic mix of peoples that made the 1994 World Cup the most successful in FIFA history.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. E H
    September 24, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Can you blame them? The USSF in its infinite wisdom combined with MLS antipathy towards anything associated with the NASL probably has not made overtures to any former NASL players not associated with MLS or US Soccer.

    Advantage, England.

  2. Tony
    September 24, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    I think we’re sunk for 2018. 2022 could be another story, but Australia still has time to get its bid back in order and pipe us.

    These two players will help England’s credibility immensly.

  3. September 25, 2009 at 12:41 am

    Big point for England. Although I don’t agree with it, England now has the upper hand. Ardiles is “Tottingham” through and through. Ardiles was anti-Falklands as his brother fought and died in that war. He left England because of the violence, but could not go to argentina either because of his stance. Who can ever forget the hug he and Maradona had after scoring against El Salvador? Ardiles literally broke down. I can understand them supporting England as they lived there more than in the States. He really spent little time here. It would have been awkward to see him supporting the US over England due to his ties.

    The same goes for Ricky Villa, but the difference was that he went to Colombia before retiring.

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