About the Author: Eran Williams serves as the Regional English Language Officer at U.S. Embassy Pretoria.
When the U.S. Embassy invited 13 English Access Microscholarship students to the pre-game reception and braai on the Embassy lawn Wednesday, we thought it would be a great opportunity for the teenagers from Mamelodi to interact with Americans. What we did not realize was that by the end of the party, the students would all be invited to the game that afternoon -- USA vs. Algeria. We also had no idea that this match would be one of the most inspiring in U.S. World Cup history. Thanks to U.S. Soccer for providing this once-in-a-lifetime experience to 13 South Africans, who otherwise would not have had the opportunity to see the World Cup soccer taking place in their own country.
Through the English Access Microscholarship program, the U.S. Embassy offers two-years of extra English language instruction to 140 under-served high school students in South Africa. In addition to the intensive English instruction, the program includes American content and interaction with the American community in South Africa. This was certainly a memorable taste of American spirit and history for these Access students.