My Everton #62: Tim Cahill & The Australian Bearded Dragon

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My Everton journey started when I was 10 years old and my parents bought me a pet lizard named Cosmo.

He was an Australian Bearded Dragon, which, as an eager child, made me interested in anything and everything Australian. 

The 2006 World Cup was one of the first major soccer tournaments I had watched, and while cheering on Australia with Cosmo nearby, a certain Tim Cahill caught my eye. 

I loved his play, going hard into every challenge and his never-quit attitude.

A quick Google search revealed that he played for a team in England called Everton.

From then on out, I decided that Everton was the team for me. 

Since I was still only in middle-school and Premier League coverage at the time wasn't as present as it is now in the USA, I really only checked in on the scores every now and then.

When Everton matches made their way to our televisions, however, my eyes beamed with delight every time I saw Tim, as Cosmo sat nearby. 

The 2010 World Cup came along and this time I was glued to the screen every match.

It was a double-delight for me, as the United States were in the tournament, along with Australia, and after Tim Howard and Landon Donovan's heroics against Algeria, another quick Google search of the pair revealed that they played for... Everton.

I became obsessed.

I knew that I had to see Everton in person. 

I convinced my parents for a "quick trip" to Washington D.C. in the summer of 2011 to see the Blues take on D.C. United in a pre-season friendly. 

After plenty of begging and reassurance that the "quick trip" was more of a 4-5 hour drive from our home, we decided to go. 

The memories from the trip are limited, whether it being that I was only 15-years-old or the 100 degree beaming sun clouding my memory a bit. But I'm delighted to say I was able to experience my first Everton win live.

After that trip, I felt more and more like a fully-fledged Evertonian. 

A Christmas wouldn't go by without an Everton calendar and a variety of merchandise from the Everton store. My mom would always remark just how expensive it was to ship things overseas!

The years went by and my Everton fandom only grew stronger. It followed me into college, where, despite a busy schedule, I never missed a match. 

A particular memory that stands out is Phil Jagielka's belter in the derby, and a lengthy apology I had to give to my roommate for waking him up that early on a Saturday. 

Fast-forward a few more years into post-college life when I received the opportunity of a lifetime to write about Everton for SB Nation's Royal Blue Mersey blog. I write for the website to this day and I still pinch myself at the thought of being able to write about the club that I have supported for so many years.

It was the winter of 2020 when I stumbled upon a fan group's Spring Break Trip to see the Merseyside Derby at Goodison. 

It's been a dream of mine to finally make the pilgrimage to Goodison after supporting the team for so many years. Several lengthy chats with my parents and our connections with the Everton USA group led to one of the biggest decisions of my life - we'd be making the trip! 

We would start our journey sightseeing in London, checking out some darts matches, attending a Beatles tour, and many more activities. Only two days before my parents and I were set to fly over, the number of COVID-19 cases began to spike across the USA and England - you probably know the rest. 

I was crushed. 

We were all devastated to not be able to make the trip, but we knew that our health and safety at the time were all that mattered.

However, not all hope was lost.

I was able to attend Everton's pre-season trip to Florida in the summer of 2021 with my dad and it was another experience that I'll never forget. Not only was I able to see two Everton wins, but I also had the chance to go to a Tim Howard talk as well as meet several Blues at pre-match tailgates. 

The one thing that I took from the trip is that Everton really do care about their supporters. I had a sense of it ever since I started supporting the Club, but the trip totally reaffirmed that feeling. 

I really felt that sense of belonging - not only being able to have the opportunity to see Everton play in person again after my trip to Goodison fell through, but being able to meet some amazing fans and people along the way.

Everton really do care and you can bet I'm planning my (next) trip to Goodison already.


By Pat Mariboe, Evertonian

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