Jorge Oliva was born in Honduras. He moved to Minnesota in the late 1980s, when he was 9. He lives in Rosemount with his wife, Idolly, and three sons.
"Family and soccer,'' he said. "That's our life. Our oldest son, Jorge Jr., is 13 and plays traveling soccer for Sporting Minnesota. His team is having a lot of success. I also play soccer, with the old-timers at National Sports Center.
"We have season tickets for the Minnesota United. We love the Loons. We love Barcelona in Europe. We watch anything from England. Idolly, she's from Guatemala, where the soccer isn't as strong, but she does fine with all of this … especially following Jorge's team. The U.S. National team is my second choice in international play, too. I don't have anything against that team.
"When Honduras isn't playing in the World Cup, I cheer for the U.S.''
That means Oliva will in all likelihood be cheering for the U.S. when the 2022 World Cup starts in Qatar in late November
"We're already eliminated,'' said Oliva, in reference to Honduras. "We made the World Cup in 2010 and 2014, and we came close four years ago. We had a number of veteran players who did very good things for Honduras soccer.
"They are gone now. The selection of players this time was mostly younger kids. We have no experience and haven't won a match in the last round.''
Honduras has three draws, seven losses, with five goals scored and 19 allowed. It stands eighth (last) in the CONCACAF qualifying table entering Wednesday night's match against the second-place U.S. at Allianz Field.
Oliva is among those finding it ridiculous that the U.S. will be playing in a sub-zero windchill in search of an alleged advantage against a team it defeated 4-1 on Sept. 21 in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
"Honduras is not playing for anything other than experience,'' Oliva said. "They should have moved this match to U.S. Bank Stadium. The U.S. players are going to be just as cold as the Honduras players.
"If the teams can't play their best because of the weather, that might be an advantage for us, not the U.S."
That said, Oliva invested $120 for a ticket a while back, so he will be in the seats in St. Paul, cheering to no real purpose for his young Honduran squad.
I mentioned the anecdote from the Winter Classic hockey game at Target Field on Jan. 1, where attendees reported buying a beer and having it freeze before they could drink it.
"No beer for me at this match,'' Oliva said. "If they are selling a hot brandy, I would go for that.''