This afternoon, the United States takes part in what's becoming a quadrennial tradition: playing Ghana in the World Cup.
The match-up went badly for the U.S. squad four years ago—when the Black Stars stunned Landon Donovan and a resurgent Yankee team in the knockout round.
But that result delighted some Portlanders. In 2010, I wrote a WW cover story featuring the city's smallest and perhaps most passionate soccer fan base: the Ghanaian community.
Here's how we met:
I got a call from Nii Ardey Allotey. He was whooping into the phone.
“We did it! We did it!” he said, and let out a long yell of jubilation. “I am so happy right now!”
He paused briefly from his celebration. “I guess a lot of Americans are pretty sad, though.”
Allotey is one of the few Ghanaian immigrants in Portland. The western African nation is home to 23 million people; probably no more than 200 live in Portland, according to the immigrants I spoke to. Most of them know worldbeat music pioneer Obo Addy, one of the first Ghanaians to move to this city when he immigrated in 1978. Allotey, a drummer and dancer from the capital city of Accra, moved here in 1988 as a member of Addy’s Okropong troupe. Now he owns his own drum store, Anansi Beat, which sells African rhythm instruments on Southeast Belmont Street.
WW spent a morning with Allotey and his countrymen as they gathered in a Northeast Portland home to watch Ghana play a quarterfinals game against Uruguay.
There was drumming, dancing and fried doughnut holes called "goat's balls." Then, there was heartbreak.
This year, the Ghanaian rooting section has grown larger. Mychel Tetteh, who is hosting a viewing party today, has purchased a high-definition projector with a six-foot-tall image.
"It's likely to be a mix of Ghanaians, Ghanaian-Americans, and Americans," Tetteh tells WW, "some who have mixed feelings about this seemingly unending rivalry that's been born simply due to the luck of the draw."