Rainbow struggle playing out on sidelines of World Cup
A fan holds her hand up in protest on the sidelines as Canada and Germany fight for a late equalizer in the World Cup match in Kazan, Russia, Tuesday, June 22, 2015. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Andrei Malashenko)
LONDON (AP) — The men’s team played their final game for the European championship, and the women’s players had just a few hours left to do something, anything.
They were watching the World Cup in Kazan, Russia, a city of a million people on the Volga River. In front of them, in the crowd, were thousands of fans. And some were wearing black, others had a red scarf, some had a green one, some had a green hijab and many of them didn’t. In other places around them, one could see fans with white, blue, red, green, yellow and occasionally green scarves.
They were there to celebrate — to celebrate what one of the team’s players had dedicated his entire life to: soccer.
For those who knew him or played with him or watched him play professionally — and what did he get for his sweat, blood and tears?
He lost his dream job, his family and most likely his life that he dreamed of.
“I was a normal guy who just wanted to play football,” said Jurgen Klinsmann, the former World Cup and U.S. men’s coach. “He’s like a brother to me.”
But this was only the latest chapter in a story that began in 2007, when a young German woman named Mia Hamm was a spectator at the friendly match between Germany and Switzerland. On the pitch, an adoring crowd chanted her name, and she returned home with the team’s jersey. She would become the first female World Cup squad member and the first American woman to score a goal in the World Cup.
“I was watching the game from the stands and I saw Mia in the stands and I kind of went up to her and gave her a hug and she was really