WE LOVE YOU TEDDY!
If you’ve paid attention to a minute of U.S. soccer this World Cup, or even scrolled through mentions of it in your social feeds, chances are you’re familiar with “Teddy Goalsevelt,” the stan-turned-meme Chicagoan Mike D’Amico who’s attended each game dressed up as Teddy Roosevelt. Over the course of the tournament, he’s practically become the face of American soccer. As you might expect, his backstory is just as good as his costume. After being laid off in September, D’Amico started freelancing and surprisingly found himself with more disposable income. Then in November, he received an unexpected email from the American Outlaws—the biggest U.S. Supporter group—offering him a coveted spot in their vacation package. He hadn’t even planned on attending the World Cup but, with some extra cash socked away, he jumped at the opportunity.
Coincidentally, the agency D’Amico now works for is called Cavalry, a name Teddy Roosevelt definitely would have approved of. “I hadn’t even pieced that together but their logos are trumpets and swords,” he says via Skype from a hotel room in Recife, fresh off of giving a pep talk alongside Will Ferrell at a supporter pre-party for today’s game against Germany. The list of chance events that brought him to this moment—and to putting together his Teddy Roosevelt costume—runs long. “We could do this interview for hours and I still wouldn’t be able to go through all of the bizarre serendipitous events,” he says. We at least got through a handful of them in our talk. Here, D’Amico explains the inspiration behind his costume, how it’s holding up in the heat, and counting Will Ferrell as one of his fans.
Two buds chilling at the World Cup, NBD.
Photo: U.S. Soccer
MTV STYLE: How was the pre-party for the U.S. vs. Germany game?
No big deal. I just got to hang out with Will Ferrell. Just another Wednesday.
Was he familiar with your Teddy Roosevelt costume?
Yeah, I’m just finding that out from the other U.S. soccer guys. They were in a van with him on the way over and told him I’d be there and he was like, “The guy from TV? That’s the guy I was just talking about!” He was excited and he was so nice. He went out of his way to involve me in everything. We went out on stage at the U.S. soccer party and gave a little pump-up speech to the guys there. It was a blast.
Tell me about the origins of this costume. Did it start out as a Halloween costume?
[Laughs] No, not even. It’s made its debut at the World Cup. I travel a lot for U.S. soccer, at least domestically—this is my first international soccer trip—and there’s always guys at the games that are dressed a little more interestingly than everyone else. There’s always the colonial soldier, the guy in the WWI outfit with the aviators and pilot helmet, and everyone always eats that stuff up. So I thought, If I’m traveling halfway around the world spending all of this money and time, this is probably the time for me to step up my game. As soon as I decided I was going to Brazil, I decided I would do something different. I started thinking about different cultural icons and was also thinking about the fact that I had nine months of beard growth—it was gigantic—so I knew I could dye or carve it into something. One day, Teddy Roosevelt just kind of hit me. I thought it was perfect because I was going to Brazil and was going to be in the jungle. It’s everything that Teddy Roosevelt would have been interested in. If you want someone leading your team and fans into battle in the jungle, it’s Teddy Roosevelt.