Filippini household scores honors as THE place to watch World Cup

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The couch and the ottoman tipped over with me on top of it.

A primal scream came from the back of the room. Drinks spilled. Bagels flew. High fives landed all around and kids with painted faces yelled as loud as they could.

The United States had just beaten Algeria in a World Cup game Wednesday morning and the Filippini household in Dover exploded with enough activity to make a blip on the nearest Richter scale.

This house had to be THE place to be to watch the World Cup … at least in North Idaho.

Brice and Melissa Filippini’s home is all about soccer on a normal day so when the World Cup rolls around, it is a national holiday in Filippiniland.

In fact, this couple might say a lot of their very active lives revolve around a soccer ball.

Brice, 33, has played soccer his whole life and was a standout defensive player for San Jose State. He coaches a Strikers soccer team and is the main trainer for the Strikers organization.

He is also the only coach I know to get the dreaded red card for yelling at a referee this season. How did I know he would be actively shouting encouragement at the TV for the U.S. team? Who would have guessed that!?!

“Great pass!” he thundered more than once.

“I can’t believe he missed that shot … players on my team could hit that one!” “YESSSSSS!!!!!!”

Melissa wasn’t a soccer fan until she met Brice in college. A cross country runner, she fell in love with Brice and helped organize a huge fan base for the Spartans soccer team at home and away matches.

“I am the best soccer cheerleader around,” Melissa said. In fact, Brice has worn Melissa’s old cheerleading uniform and an ugly wig to a game that was on Halloween. Scary.

The children:

• Landin, 11, as in U.S. soccer star Landon Donovan who scored the winning goal Wednesday. Landin is spelled with an “i” instead of an “o” much as Brice’s first name has a “y” instead of an “i”, in case you are wondering.

• Ryder, 7, has no soccer affiliation.

• Mazlow Patrick Tillman, 5, is named after NFL star Pat Tillman. Tillman was killed in the Afghanistan war. Brice and Tillman were friends when they were growing up in the San Francisco Bay area.

• Beckham, 3, is named after soccer star David Beckham.

• Zinadine, or ZZ, 20 months, is named after French soccer superstar Zinedine Zidane. “Regardless of whether ZZ was a girl or boy, our child was going to be named after Zidonna,” said Melissa.

• Grandpa Tracey Filippini coached Brice since he was old enough to dribble and coached Sandpoint U17 girls soccer team this past season and is also a soccer referee.

Did I already mention an affinity for soccer?

The house on Tuesday was bedecked with red, white and blue bunting while soccer balls were stuffed into bookshelves and anywhere else.

The FIFA World Cup book was out and the kids were comparing players’ cards while talking about trading for players they didn’t have.

“They know more about world geography than I do,” Melissa said. “They know the flags from Slovenia and Ghana because of the World Cup. This is a benefit of loving soccer.”

The Fillipini’s have a calendar with all of the World Cup broadcasts circled so they can plan the rest of their days around the games.

“We are working on a float for the Fourth of July but we won’t do it during a game,” Melissa said.

The Fillipini home was definitely World Cup ready on Wednesday morning.

There were red, white and blue streamers in the living room and colored, tinseled icicles around the TV. A quick peak around the house revealed a huge collection of soccer memorabilia and Landin’s room. There must have been 100 soccer scarves from different teams.

“His room is an icon to the soccer gods,” said Melissa.

Of course there are jerseys from every team imaginable for all of the children — and Dad.

The U.S. plays again Saturday and it is a safe bet that the Fillipinis will stake claim to having the best World Cup soccer party in all of Dover.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a local soccer kid who is moving to Colorado this weekend with his family.

I have had the privilege of knowing Eric Wehse for most of his life. I helped coach him when he was young, have reffed some of his games and have watched this outstanding kid become and outstanding young man.

This sophomore-to-be did a great job as goalie for the Sandpoint High School championship soccer team last year. He won numerous awards and showed great leadership as a freshman.

The Tod and Karin Wehse family will be missed by many people for many reasons.

I wish the family well on their journey and expect to see Eric “between the pipes” for the U.S. at the next World Cup.

David Keyes is publisher of the Daily Bee.

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