Star gazing: Celebrities who will be glued to their TVs during the World Cup
The beautiful game has fans the world over, but in the United States, where the game is still growing, sometimes it's surprising to find celebrities who have been snared in soccer's web, like movie star Tom Cruise, seen here with David Beckham. Goal.com's Andrea Canales highlights some of the most notable stars.
The movie director names Arsenal as a particular favorite club team, yet he is also a supporter of Team USA, to the point where he has joined the federation's effort to win hosting privileges for an upcoming World Cup. Like many in the USA, Lee developed a deeper appreciation for the sport when his children started playing the game. As other U.S. fans do, Lee also follows a second national team, Brazil, and has spoken often of his respect for the country's style and skill. "Every four years they're the favorites, but there's not a lock for anybody. Just because you have the greatest players doesn't mean you have the greatest team."
Elizabeth and Andrew Shue
The actress grew up with the game, playing soccer throughout her childhood. Yet there weren't many outlets for female players then and she left the sport behind as she transitioned to an acting career. Her brother, Andrew, played at Dartmouth and went on to a brief professional career, playing for the Los Angeles Galaxy. Later on, the siblings joined forces to film a movie, "Gracie", that was essentially that of their childhood, about a girl who loves the sport and dares to play with boys.
The Weezer musician is such a big soccer fan that he has written songs about the sport. He also is an ardent follower of the U.S. team, even penning a song about how one day the team will surprise the world and incorporating many of the players' names into the lyrics. "Our Time Will Come" was later retitled "My Day Is Coming", and the lyrics slightly altered, but the names remain.
The actor has been spotted at different occasions in a private box at his buddy David Beckham's Los Angeles Galaxy games, but he can also be seen on the sidelines of youth fields when his children play. When he visits the Galaxy players after games, Cruise makes it a point to greet all the players, even the ones who are injured and haven't played.
The Phoenix Suns guard isn't a U.S. fan, given that he's Canadian, but since his country rarely makes the World Cup, he has transferred his loyalty to various clubs. Though Nash remains a fan of Tottenham Hotspur, a club he followed as a child, Nash has transitioned to part ownership of the Vancouver Whitecaps, a team that will joining Major League Soccer in 2011. Nash also plays soccer every basketball offseason, and has even trained with the New York Red Bulls.
Like Nash, the Lakers' star grew up with soccer. For Bryant, though, this happened because he was raised in Italy. Not only did Bryant learn Italian, he picked up a great love for the sport. Bryant attends Galaxy matches and David Beckham has returned the favor, attending a number of Lakers games. Bryant has also participated in Nike soccer commercials, showing off a few dribbling moves.
The movie star learned to like soccer so much, he starred in a comedy about the sport, "Kicking and Screaming." Farrell considers himself a Chelsea fan, showing up in a jersey during the Blues' U.S. tour.
The comedian and game-show host used to be a die-hard Galaxy fan, but that changed when he took on an ownership stake in the Seattle Sounders. Carey not only brought an infectious enthusiasm to the ownership consortium, but also a host of ideas about team management, many lifted from how Barcelona runs their team and gives their fans a voice in the club's direction. Carey is also an especially ardent follower of the U.S. men's national team, traveling to a host of matches.
The Angels outfielder had no problem showing up on the cover of a national sports magazine in the jersey of the team he adores -- Real Madrid. Abreu has long admired "Los Blancos" and tries his best to catch their matches via television. He has put sad messages on his Twitter account when his own games have conflicted with theirs.
The host of television's "The Daily Show," Stewart, has already sent a crew out to film segments with the U.S. team ahead of the 2010 World Cup. He often mentions soccer on his show and gives updates on how the team squad is progressing. The comedian played soccer during his university days and remains a fan.