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Germany-USA Game Leaves Houston’s German Expatriates Torn

A visit of a soccer viewing party organized by the German consulate.

 

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German fans celebrate their team’s win against the USA on Thursday, June 26.

The atmosphere was great at the Mezzanine Lounge near US-59 and Kirby on Thursday. Lots of fans cheering on their soccer team in the United States’ final game in the first round of the World Cup.

But these weren’t Team USA fans.

“That’s my second life, or my first life. I’m playing soccer in Houston since 1966,” said Horst Gebert, who is all about soccer.

He said he was one of the first people to play in amateur leagues here in the ‘60s, he has season tickets to the Houston Dynamo and of course, he’s a big supporter of the German national team, even though he has lived in the U.S. for most of his life.

But he does have some sympathies for Team USA.

“I’m really rooting for a tie so both go on,” he said. “That’s my prediction and that’s what I hope is going to happen.”

Other viewers were a little more torn. Like Maija Marie Tate, who has an American grandfather and a German grandmother.

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Marvis Huff is torn in his support for teams in the World Cup, but his allegiance is with Germany over the U.S.

“I quite don’t know,” she said. “It’s just that I’m waiting till who gets the more points and then I’ll go for that team.”

Her brother Micah, who was wearing a Germany jersey, has also found a way to be OK with any result.

“Um, I go for Germany,” he said, “but if the United States wins, I’m going to be happy for them too, because I live in the United States.”

Acting Consul General Clemens Kroll has organized the viewing party. He said soccer is a great tool to bring people from different backgrounds together.

“You know, a game like this, Germany against USA, with the deep connections between the teams and our countries, is just an amazing opportunity to bring both countries together,” Kroll said.

In the end, Germany prevails, 1:0. But, the U.S. still advances to the knock-out round, because it has more wins or a better goal difference than the other teams in the group.

Horst Gebert liked the outcome.

“The game was not, as expected, was not really a good game,” he said. “But we both came out, Germany won the division. America is in. The U.S. made it through, so perfect. Just the way I wanted it.”

It also kind of worked out for Marvis Huff, an American who spent a year in Germany. He was wearing a wig in the German colors along with his German jersey, but he has painted American flags on the backs of his hands.

“I’ve experienced a bit of cognitive dissonance,” Huff said, “because I know that I want USA to win. However, every time Germany scores the goal – well, which is one time – I’m quite happy. But I’m quite sad at the same time, so it’s a bit of mixed emotions, to be honest, you know?”

Mixed emotions – it’s the story of Thursday’s game for Germans and Germany supporters who have made Houston their home.

But in the end, joy seems to outweigh disappointment for everybody, including those who only support the U.S.

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A German fan blows his vuvuzela during the Germany-USA viewing party at the Mezzanine Lounge.

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Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is currently the News 88.7 business reporter. Florian’s stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters and the Houston Press Club. Florian is a native of Germany. His studies...

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