Mike D’Amico assumes his alter-ego, Teddy Goalsevelt, at every U.S. national soccer team game, riling up fans far and wide with his super-fan version of the 26th president.
D’Amico, 31, from Chicago, dressed in a homemade Teddy Roosevelt costume, became a quick fan favorite after ESPN cut to him celebrating Jermaine Jones’ goal during the June 22 U.S. vs. Portugal match that ended in a tie.
“I’m just the lucky schmuck they cut to when he was losing his mind on ESPN,” D’Amico told ABC News.
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Of his initial decision to dress up as a former president for the games, D’Amico said, “One day it kind of hit me. We’re going to be in the Amazon, I have this beard I can shave into something. ... Teddy Roosevelt, it’s perfect."
Roosevelt, a noted adventurer, explored the Amazon after failing to regain the presidency in 1912. Soon after his loss, he went on an expedition focused on a Brazilian waterway then known as the "River of Doubt," now known as the Roosevelt River. Roosevelt's account of the expedition later was published as "Through the Brazilian Wilderness."
“If there’s anybody you want leading the team, the fans, the country into battle in the jungle," D’Amico said, "it’s Teddy Roosevelt.”
Though D’Amico originally intended to stay in Brazil for one round of the FIFA World Cup, his sudden popularity encouraged him to reconsider. So D'Amico's employer, the advertising agency Cavalry, started a GoFundMe page to pay for an extended stay that would allow Teddy Goalsevelt to continue cheering on the U.S. soccer team in presidential style.
The Teddy Goalsevelt cause was able to pass its $5,000 fundraising goal last week, and, according to the fundraising page, all extra funds will be donated to a charity of D’Amico’s choice.