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Know Your Opponent: Barbados Edition

This Sunday, the U.S. kicks off qualifying for the 2010 World Cup by hosting Barbados at the Cathedral of American Soccer, the HDC. But what do we really know about Barbados? I, for one, don’t know anything really.

Barbados is an island nation of the Pacific. It’s name is an old Portugese phrase for “Bearded Ones”, which I think is pretty awesome. If I was from Barbados, I would definitely let the beard grow so I could look like a ginger Grizzly Adams.

Barbados is considered part of the Lesser Antilles, which are apparently so named due to their geographic position, and not because they suck when compared to the Greater Antilles.

Barbados has a total land area of 166 square miles. For comparison purposes, the City of Los Angeles, where this weekend’s game will be played is nearly 470 square miles. So, it’s basically like U.S. vs. Hollywood.

Luckily for the U.S. though, they don’t have to play Hollywood. I understand some Beckham fellow lives there now, and that dude from Without a Trace is supposed to play some mean defense.

Barbados has a gross domestic product of around $5 billion per year. Taco Bell, meanwhile, only did about half that last year. Take that Taco Bell!

The Right Honorable David Thompson is the PM of Barbados, but luckily it isn’t this David Thompson, as he would likely be the small nation’s best player.

Sugar is the country’s biggest export, but I don’t think it’s the best. That title has to go to Rihanna, the pop sensation who was born in Barbados in 1988.

1988?

Wow, suddently I feel really dirty. And old.

I know what your thinking though, “I thought this was going to be about the Barbadian soccer team.”

Tough, Rihanna comes first, then we get to the soccer.

OK, the national team is referred to as Bajan Pride. While we foreigners refer to the people of Barbados as Barbadians, they prefer the shorter term Bajan. It’s kind of like how we call ourselves “Americans”, but the rest of the world still likes to refer to us as “Imperialist Assholes”.

They are currently ranked #117 in the world by FIFA, which is pretty pathetic. Moreover, they have never (and that means ever) qualified for a major tournament. Their best team ever, the 2002 squad, lost 7-0 to the U.S., which is still the country’s largest ever defeat. 

Methinks revenge could be on someone’s mind this Sunday.

I would talk about the players, but you’ve never heard of them. Well, unless you live in New Hampshire. Romelle Burgess, a 35 year old midfielder who was called up for a recent qualifier against Dominica, plays for the New Hampshire Phantoms of the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League.

Barbados escaped from the First Round of qualifying by beating Dominica. Now, they will play the U.S. twice in one week to see who advances to the Third Round. While the U.S. are huge favorites, one can never feel too comfortable.

Here’s to hoping the “Bearded Ones” don’t give the U.S. a close shave. And here’s also to hoping they produce more exports like Rihanna.

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