Barack Obama’s love of the beautiful game is hardly a secret. The US President refers to himself as a “soccer dad”, follows West Ham United, and once convinced the leaders of the other seven wealthiest countries of the world to interrupt the G8 summit and watch the UEFA Champions League final on television!
What a majority didn’t know is that President Obama can play a bit too! That became evident last week, when the Honolulu, Hawaii native hosted the Los Angeles Galaxy and Los Angeles Kings at the White House to honour them for winning the Major League Soccer and National Hockey League titles respectively.
Indeed, when Landon Donovan presented President Obama with a ball signed by the Galaxy squad, the 51-year-old did what you’d expect to see from a football-crazy kid and not the US President: he skilfully began bouncing it up and down off his head to the pleasant surprise of his audience!
Actually, Obama was renowned as a classy soccer player while at Harvard University, which has certainly produced its fair share of prominent sportspeople. Aside from a series of Olympic gold medallists, its alumni include former tennis player Dwight Davis, who founded the Davis Cup; two-time NHL Stanley Cup winner Craig Adams; former NFL center Matt Birk and current NFL quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick; NBA star Jeremy Lin, for whom ‘Linsanity’ began in 2012; and MLS players Andre Akpan and Mike Fucito.