Of all the candidates in the 2016 U.S. presidential race, Donald Trump might be the last one you would expect to have a long history with the world’s game.
More understandably, he did own an American football team in the 1980s and has been blamed for “destroying” the USFL, but before that he was a soccer player. A member of the New York Military Academby’s 1963 varsity team. Donald Trump. The same Donald Trump whose venomous campaign rhetoric was recently used to stoke the rivalry between the U.S. and Mexico on the pitch.
But Trump can’t dismiss his involvement with the game as a childhood indiscretion. In 1992, he helped make the League Cup quarterfinal draw with British football legends Ian St. John and Jimmy Greaves for some reason (top video). Trump was tasked with picking the away teams, pairing eventual champions Manchester United with Leeds.
“That’s a biggie,” he said of the match-up after seeing everyone else’s reaction to it. “That’s the game I want to go to.”
Trump went on to mention his own experience playing the game. “I love soccer,” he said, noting that it was starting to catch on in the U.S. as preparations to host the 1994 World Cup were underway.
In recent years, Trump has been rumored to have had interest in buying Argentine club San Lorenzo (the Pope’s favorite club) and Colombian side Atletico Nacional, though both reports seem to have been without merit.
Given all this, it shouldn’t be a surprise that unofficial Donald Trump soccer balls are being sold on Zazzle.
Anyway, with Parliament recently debating whether Trump should be barred from the U.K. for “hate speech,” his chances of being asked to take part in another League Cup draw appear slim. And he’s definitely not getting another Saint and Greavsie mug.