ABC News’ Mary Bruce (@marykbruce) Reports:
President Obama welcomed the Colorado Rapids to the White House today to congratulate them for their Major League Soccer championship and to thank them, as a self proclaimed “soccer dad,” for showing kids how it’s done.
“I have watched my share of games over the years. And I’m used to seeing everybody gather around the ball, and then it kind of pops out somewhere, and everybody runs over to the ball,” said the president, who sometimes coaches his daughter Sasha’s soccer team.
Obama went on to congratulate the Rapids for having come so far since their days on the Little League soccer field. “I’m sure your parents were thinking the same thing — that these guys can’t play,” he said.
The president highlighted the Rapids’ amazing comeback. After having the second-worst record in last year’s playoff, they came back this year to win it all. “They showed up in close games, they clawed back from behind. They just kept on winning. And when the clock ran out, the Rapids were the best team in American soccer,” he said.
Obama also lauded the team’s diversity, referring to them as a “mini-United Nations.” Members of the team hail from Argentina, England, France, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Scotland, and Senegal.
The president singled out player Kosuke Komura for delivering a motivating speech to the team the night before the championship. “I understand that he made a very inspiring speech to the team, but it was in Japanese, so nobody really understood what he was saying, but it was really inspirational, was what I heard,” he joked.
Finally, Obama praised the team for their charity work. “These aren’t just good players, they’re also good people,” the president explained.
The Rapids brought their community spirit to the White House today, hosting an afternoon soccer clinic for children of military families on the South Lawn. “You will make their summer and you will make their parents happier when they actually know what to do on the soccer field,” Obama said.