By ANDREW TAVANI
When does the 2014 World Cup start? The FIFA World Cup kicks off on Thursday at 4 p.m. EST, and if you're not in the spirit for the month-long soccer tournament yet, warm up for it by fixing your gaze on the below 15 photos of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry kicking and playing with soccer balls. Kerry has apparently been warming up for the 2014 World Cup since at least May 5th when he posted a photo of himself kicking a soccer ball on Twitter along with the message, 'Ready for #2014WorldCup to start!'
The secretary of state is a noted soccer enthusiast. He played varsity soccer during his years at Yale University and has briefly recounted on numerous occasions, including to ESPN a decade ago, what appears to be the crowning athletic achievement of his lifetime: scoring a hat trick in a 6-3 victory over Harvard back in 1965. He was even in the middle of playing a soccer game when he learned the news that JFK had been assassinated, according to Sports Illustrated.
In a profile published last year, the Boston Globe went so far as to describe Kerry as a 'lifelong' soccer player. Photographic evidence of the soccer skills honed over that lifetime are below. Kerry, now 70, looks as nimble and agile handling the ball as he ever has. Some of the photos below are from the the campaign trail in 2004, and others are from recent weeks. A few commonalities you might notice is that if Kerry is playing with a soccer ball in front of a crowd, he commands rapt attention from young and old alike -- whether he's reaching his long legs to boot the ball, or making it appear to levitate after he's pulled off a header. And he seems to take the same pleasure in playing with the soccer ball in solitude as he does performing for an audience. Enjoy the amusing photos and get ready for the World Cup.
By ANDREW TAVANI