Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: SoccerInsider and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  Sports e-mail alerts  |  RSS

An American fan (and his flag) at the World Cup

I figured to run into Clifton Broumand at some point during my six weeks in South Africa, and lo and behold, a few hours before the Germany-Spain semifinal at Moses Mabhida Stadium, there he was on the palm tree-lined walkway between the Indian Ocean and the glistening Durban venue. From a distance, I knew it was him: tall dude wearing a U.S. Soccer baseball cap and gripping a collapsible fishing pole with an American flag attached.

cliftonfan.jpg

Clifton, 52, runs a computer hardware business in the Washington area and has attended every World Cup since 1982. (He has also been to the Indianapolis 500 39 of the past 40 years -- Indiana is his native state -- but that's a story for another day.)

Since arriving in South Africa on June 9, he attended matches on 20 of 23 gamedays, a rate almost humanly impossible in a country without high-speed trains or a world-class infrastructure. His mode of transportation: rental car and a few flights.

More.....

Assuming he lands a ticket tonight, he will observe his 21st match. Saturday's third-place game in Port Elizabeth will be No. 22; he won't bother with the final because of the high price. (Remarkably, he has never attended a final -- it's about the daily experience, not the big matches.) All told, by the time he flies home July 16, he expects to have increased his World Cup "caps" to 104 over eight tournaments.

As you might have read in my story last month about the tens of thousands of Americans traveling to South Africa for the Cup, Clifton rarely buys tickets in advance. Instead, he positions himself outside stadiums with his flag, holds up a finger indicating he needs one ticket and shouts out his needs. Scalpers and fans with extras swarm him like he's a rock star. Security rarely hassles him. And with few exceptions, he reaches a deal for tickets around face value or a small percentage higher.

"The flag helps," he said. "They like Americans. I have met so many people. That's what it's all about. Brazil in four years, I'll be there. After that, I think I will be too old for this stuff."

durbanstadiumnight.jpg

By Steve Goff  |  July 7, 2010; 12:34 PM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup  | Tags: Durban, South Africa, World Cup  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Netherlands' World Cup win sparks big celebrations
Next: Spain vs. Germany in World Cup 2010 semifinal

Comments

Pretty neat. Pretty expenisve, I'd bet, but I'd totally do it if I could

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | July 7, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

It's kinda funny that he must have spent thousands on travel and tickets for all those games but shuts it down for the finals because it's too expensive.

That's sort of like splurging $400 bucks on a romantic dinner and then refusing to sleep with your date because condoms are too expensive.

OK, maybe not exactly like that, but still...

Posted by: Ciscokid50 | July 7, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

That is awesome!
I assume he has no kids and no wife. If I was dependent-less I would be doing the same thing as him. Except that I would go to the final also.
Oh and bring a friend.
Good story Goff.

Posted by: marksman37 | July 7, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Reading about his "caps" reminds me...why has ESPN taken to calling them "apps"? Assume it's short for "appearances," but why not just use "caps" and explain it?

Posted by: ldmay | July 7, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Interesting story, and congrats to Clifton for making all those games. However, I have to take issue with the comment about South Africa's infrastructure. I lived in neighboring Mozambique and Lesotho from 1999 to 2004, and driving around South Africa was quick and easy, especially between the major cities. The roads may be mostly 2 lane, but they are in good condition, and slower cars often pull over to the shoulder to let others pass. We put thousands of miles on our cars over five years with no problems.

Posted by: Bob97 | July 7, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Interesting story, and congrats to Clifton for making all those games. However, I have to take issue with the comment about South Africa's infrastructure. I lived in neighboring Mozambique and Lesotho from 1999 to 2004, and driving around South Africa was quick and easy, especially between the major cities. The roads may be mostly 2 lane, but they are in good condition, and slower cars often pull over to the shoulder to let others pass. We put thousands of miles on our cars over five years with no problems.

Posted by: Bob97 | July 7, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Since we are in a similar business I Googled his name to find out what he does. After all, why can't I afford to travel to the World Cup every 4 years. Turns out he sells specialty keyboards and mice. I need a niche.

Posted by: peridigm | July 7, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Why can't USSF get him a ticket for the finals. He is a true fan of US soccer. Its a shame that the Federation can't support a fan like that.

Posted by: galaxies42 | July 8, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Steve Goff is sort of celebrity journalist in durban.

sir, you have written an excellent article about my city. i got goosebumps reading it.

i have saved your article, emailed to a few people and are keeping at as a "e-souvenir" of the 2010 world cup.

enjoy your stay in south africa and please visit durban and the rest of country again

Posted by: durbanite1 | July 9, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I want to let most of you know that I did get a ticket for the game. I spent $200 for a $600 Cat 1 ticket. At this WC, I have been able to buy tickets at about 1/3 to 1/4 face value. People have given me tickets at some matches.

One person said I gave a great presentation. I am in Port Elizabeth right now preparing to go to the 3 v 4 game. I expect to pay about $40-50.

Posted by: cbroumand | July 10, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company