Teamwork makes the dream work

Invoice Belichick receives Croatian citizenship, meets with soccer group forward of Euros


As a substitute of teaching a group by the NFL‘s offseason program, Invoice Belichick has been touring in his first season away from the sideline in 50 years.

Belichick’s newest journey took him abroad to a spot the place he has a particular connection. The previous New England Patriots head coach visited Croatia earlier this week, taking a pair of essential conferences as he formally grew to become a citizen of the nation.

First, Belichick met with Croatian prime minister Andrej Plenković and president Zoran Milanović. They introduced Belichick, who’s of Croatian descent, with a certificates of nationality. He additionally acquired the Order of the Croatian Star, which featured the effigy of Franjo Bučar.

Belichick then hit the opposite soccer discipline, attending the Croatian males’s nationwide soccer group‘s match in opposition to North Macedonia in its penultimate pleasant forward of the 2024 Euros on Monday. Following Croatia’s 3-0 win, Belichick spoke with the group.

“My grandparents got here to the USA in 1910 from Draganić and had a troublesome life, however that is why my father [Steve], additionally an American soccer coach, managed to reside his American dream,” Belichick mentioned, in line with a Croatian newspaper Večernji. “Yesterday, I grew to become a Croatian citizen. Now I am considered one of you.”

In his last seasons with the Patriots, Belichick confirmed his delight in his Croatian heritage. He usually wore a Croatian pin on his gameday apparel because the league allowed gamers and coaches to have a good time their heritages starting in 2022.

“I am happy with my Croatian heritage, and I am proud to put on it,” Belichick instructed reporters that season. “I am not in Croatia. I am not a citizen, however it’s a heritage that’s half of my household. My mother was English. My dad was Croatian.

“So, for different Croatians, Coach [Nick] Saban, Coach [Pete] Carroll, and others of us which have that little bond, happy with it and glad to have the chance to put on it. And I’ve heard from some folks throughout the ocean that they recognize it and recognize the popularity as effectively. Go, Croatia!”

Belichick has additionally been a famous fan of the Croatian males’s nationwide soccer group. He was so glued to the TV throughout Croatia’s upset win over Brazil within the quarterfinal of the 2022 World Cup that he was the final individual to reach on the discipline for a Patriots apply. He was additionally passionately watching Croatia’s matches within the 2018 World Cup, when it made a run to the ultimate.

“I watched them and rooted onerous for our group,” Belichick mentioned by way of Croatia Week. “I put on the jersey when the sport is on TV for a bit of further assist, so I’m very happy with the soccer group, of the handball group, the water polo group, and positively nice basketball gamers which have come out of there. I’ll see if we will discover a couple [American] soccer gamers from Croatia, as a result of I do know there are some huge, athletic children there.

“I’m happy with my heritage, it’s one thing that may all the time resonate with me and I nonetheless keep involved with my cousins and relations and relations from Croatia. I’m very happy with it.”

Belichick, who has visited a number of school lacrosse groups, Washington’s soccer group (the place his son, Steve, coaches) and Nebraska’s soccer group to this point this offseason, can also be in Croatia to be a particular visitor for the Sundown Sports activities Media Pageant, which shall be held from June 6-8.

Shortly after, the Croatian squad will start group play with its first match within the 2024 Euros. That shall be in opposition to Spain in Group B on Saturday, June 15 (midday ET on FOX and the FOX Sports activities app). 

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