Monday, April 03, 2006

Per Lahm: The pride of Snyder, TX

Let me tell you about Per Lahm . . .

Per Lahm is the greatest thing to happen to US soccer since the Men's National Team qualified for the 1990 World Cup. Per Lahm is the most complete US goalkeeper ever, and he keeps getting better. Kasey Keller, Brad Friedel, Marcus Hanneman? All solid American goalkeepers, but they may as well be Swiss cheese in comparison to Per Lahm. Per Lahm can stop shots blindfolded and his goalkeeping prowess allows his manager to employ the oft under-used 0-0-10 formation. That's right, one goalkeeper and 10 forwards.

So who is Per Lahm?

Per Lahm is the cowboy goalkeeper. He was born in Snyder, TX in June of 1985. Soccer was not a natural choice for most young men in Snyder, but Per was introduced to it by his Danish parents who had been prompted to move to the United States (Snyder specifically) by their love of Clint Eastwood and Spaghetti Westerns. The names Beckenbauer, Cruyff, Pele, and Banks were often uttered by Per's parents in the same breath as the names Wayne, Eastwood, McQueen, and Pickens.

Per's childhood was no different than any other Snyder boy's - except they played football while he played futbol. Per's adolesence was a musical montage depiciting his surprising development into a world class goalkeeper and culminating in his discovery by Leeds United of Leeds, England. After tearfully deciding to leave Snyder, TX (it grows on you) Per braved the move to England and has quickly become one of Leeds' biggest stars. His performance on the pitch is surpassed only by his quick wit and incredibly quotable press conferences. The following are considered Per's most quotable quips:

At the press conference announcing his signing: "Just flew in today . . . arms sure are tired! Hoo-weee! That's a little joke my daddy said'd be good to break the ice."

At the press conference announcing his salary details: "Pounds! Y'all are gonna pay me in pounds! What if I have to buy somethin' expensive! How in tarnation am I gonna lug all them pounds around!"

When told to put his on 'boots' in order to get ready for his first match: "My boots? How the hell am I gonna play with my Tony Lama's on?! I got Adidas for that."

At the press conference following his first 20 save shut out: "Well, it was nothin' really. I just figured I'd bail the team out like the good old U-S- of-A bailed you fellas out in dubya dubya two!"

Upon being told by his agent in hushed and hurried tones, 'Per! You can't say that!': "Can't say it hell! It's in the history books!"

Per Lahm has no equals in the art of goalkeeping.

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