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From Jerry's 6/12/13 Seattle Times column:
It wasn’t about the wow factor this time. It’s crazy to think because there were plenty of wow expressions anyway. By Seattle’s robust soccer standards, though, this World Cup qualifier atmosphere was just a normal night.
Over the past five years, as Seattle’s international soccer profile has risen, these big local events have been a purposeful showcase, with everyone determined to prove the city’s passion for the sport. You had to leave inspired and overwhelmed. That was the mandatory impression. It was a rare thing for Seattle, to see the city so formal in this mission, to acknowledge it as the best dressed at its own party. The typical, casual Seattle had received the most thorough makeover ever. It was that important to show the world our soccer affinity through large crowds, exquisite game presentation and an inclusive spirit. Every match, especially the huge ones, had to feel like a celebration of this phenomenon.
So on Tuesday, in perhaps the most important soccer event Seattle has hosted since its emergence, it was striking that the city impressed without trying to impress. It wasn’t over the top. We didn’t overdress for the occasion because, well, special has become normal.
It wasn’t an “Oh, look at how great Seattle is!” kind of night. Our soccer reputation is established now, and the World Cup qualifier between the United States men’s soccer team and Panama served as evidence. Seattle simply provided an attractive and loud background for a good international competition. And the city played its role quite well.
Click here to read the rest of the column.