Today at the U.S. Consulate in Sao Paulo, we celebrated mid-summer with a BBQ and a visit from several of the members of the U.S. Soccer Team that will compete in the World Cup this June and July.

Consulate officers and their families were joined at the BBQ by the players and by U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Liliana Ayalde. The players ate and then graciously signed autographs and posed for photos with the American and Brazilian fans.

Ayalde
Ambassador Liliana Ayalde chats with Kyle Beckerman

After the BBQ, the soccer players and Consulate visitors went to the front gate of the Consulate to help paint the mural that will commemorate World Cup 2014.

Tom painting the wall. Hooligan!
Tom painting the wall. Hooligan!
After painting the Consulate wall.
After painting the Consulate wall.

Local fans will have trouble getting tickets to see the American team play, and a tougher time, perhaps, getting to the venues where they’ll play in Manaus, Natal, and Recife. But we all gathered to wish them well here in sultry Sao Paulo where they are getting a touch of the weather they’ll experience at their games next June.

USA! USA! USA!

(The following is from Latino Fox News)

Jurgen Klinsmann is giving American players an early chance to get to know Brazil ahead of the World Cup.

The U.S. began a 12-day training camp Tuesday in São Paulo, where the team will be based during the tournament in June. The Americans, with a roster of 26 players mostly from Major League Soccer, are the first of the 32 World Cup nations to arrive in Brazil this year in an effort to get acquainted to the host country.

The U.S. coach calls the dry run for the World Cup a great chance to know more about what to expect.

“It gives us the opportunity to be already at the facility we are going to stay in the World Cup, to get to know the hotel we are going to stay at and to get a feeling for the country,” Klinsmann said. “What we want to get out of it is that the players experience all those things. In the technical side there is a lot that we can achieve, on the organizational, logistical side there is a lot we can experience.”

Klinsmann even wants his staff to start learning Portuguese in order to know some basic words by the time the team returns.

The Americans will stay in Brazil until Jan. 25 before heading home for an exhibition against South Korea on Feb. 1 at Carson, Calif., where it began its 11th annual January training camp last week.

Klinsmann originally intended to bring only 23 players to São Paulo but after watching last week’s training was pleased and decided not to trim his roster.

He never considered moving the team’s World Cup training base from São Paulo after last month’s draw gave the U.S. first-round matches in the northern cities of Manaus, Natal and Recife.

“We have probably the worst travel schedule of all teams, but we will take it as a challenge,” he said.

The U.S. opens against Ghana on June 16, plays Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal six days later and closes the group stage against Germany on June 26. Klinsmann said the Americans may stay up north between their second and third matches rather than return to São Paulo, which would cut a group-stage itinerary currently at about 9,000 miles.