The 44th president of the United States has an array of teams he supports, but what about soccer?
Barack Obama’s love of sport was abundantly evident during his tenure as President of the United States.
A relatively sprightly 47 years old when he assumed office in 2009, Obama was frequently captured playing basketball at the White House and he hosted various teams at Washington D.C. during his eight years as leader.
It’s no secret that the former Illinois senator follows the Chicago Bears in NFL (though he also has a soft spot for the Pittsburgh Steelers) and supports the Chicago White Sox in baseball, but his allegiance when it comes to soccer is somewhat of a mystery.
He is a supporter of the U.S. men’s and women’s national teams, of course, and took breaks from diplomatic business to tune in to a number of their games at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.
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But club-wise it remains unclear which team he cheers for.
Given Obama’s affinity for Chicago-based sporting outfits, it would not be unreasonable to assume that he might support Major League Soccer club Chicago Fire, but there have been no public expressions to confirm the hypothesis.
During his campaign for the presidency in 2008, the Daily Telegraph reported that Obama was a fan of West Ham after it emerged that he had attended a Hammers game while on a trip to London in 2003.
West Ham even invited him to one of their games following his election, but the story of his support for the club was subsequently dismissed as speculation.
He is an admirer of Argentina star Lionel Messi and clearly pays attention to the Barcelona star’s exploits, using his World Cup woes with the Albiceleste as an analogy while on a visit to Colombia in 2019.
However, that interest doesn’t necessarily translate to support for Barca.
As the former head of state for the US, Obama had all sorts of encounters with different football teams and he has had plenty of teams vying for his attention.
Gifts such as personalised and signed jerseys have been presented to the 44th President of the United States, while others – like West Ham – have invited him to watch their games.
Others have taken to social media in their attempts to lure Obama to their side.
In 2017 it emerged that German club Darmstadt 84 were the only European club Obama followed on Twitter, sparking a frenzy of speculation as to why that was the case.
Darmstadt, who now play in 2. Bundesliga, are not exactly powerhouses of European football, so the fact that USMNT player Terrence Boyd played for them (he has since moved on) was held up as one potential reason.
So, Darmstadt, naturally, sent Boyd out to bat for them.
“Dear Barack Obama, we’ve heard that we’re the only European soccer club you follow on Twitter. It’s a huge honour for us at Darmstadt 98,” the striker declared in a video shared on Twitter.
“Now that you’ve got a little more time for yourself, we’d like to invite you to a Lilien game at the Bollenfalltor. We’ve got a fitting jersey for you as well, so see you at the Bollen!”
Unless Obama showed up in south-west Germany in secret, the Terrence Boyd charm offensive doesn’t appear to have worked, unfortunately.
So, for now, Obama’s confirmed soccer teams remain the USMNT and USWNT, as well as whatever teams his daughters Malia and Sasha are playing for!