I have always loved America. While it was a peculiar delight to come of age in Liverpool in the 1980s, the torrent of television shows I feasted upon - Starsky and Hutch, Hart to Hart, Fantasy Island, and The Love Boat - made England feel cloaked in black and white while life in America was lived in glorious technicolor.
So my bedroom became a shrine to everything American. Though I had never been there, I collected fragments of Americana and treated them like sacred gems. If you look carefully you will see William Refrigerator Perry, Ferris Bueller, Sergeant Bilko, Debbie Gibson, Gary Coleman, the Beastie Boys and more. Totems I fused into my own DNA.
I moved to the States at the earliest opportunity right after college, heading for Chicago, largely out of my love for the movies of John Hughes. I arrived right before the 1994 World Cup and watched with wonder as that stonewashed denim clad squad swaggered onto the field mulleted of hair and ginger of beard.
I fell in love with the US team as soon as I saw them. And have adored every second of their ups and downs ever since as soccer has come so far so fast.
Tomorrow they will take the field in Recife for one of their biggest ever tests. Though I am a grown man, the nerves and fear and excitement I will feel in the hour before kick off will be excruciating. All born of a boy who grew up in a bedroom beneath posters of Matthew Broderick and Debbie Gibson.
Go, Go USA #NoSleepTillRecife