News / USA

American Fans Catch Football Fever Via World Cup

  • Collins Fon reacts as he watches the USA vs Belgium World Cup soccer match in Washington, July 1, 2014.
  • United States fans cheer while watching the World Cup soccer match between the U.S. and Belgium at a viewing party in Redondo Beach, California, July 1, 2014.
  • Fans watch as Belgium scores against the U.S. during the Brazil 2014 World Cup viewing party at Solider Field in Chicago, July 1, 2014.
  • Fans cheer for the U.S. during a World Cup soccer game viewing party between U.S. and Belgium at Solider Field in Chicago, July 1, 2014.
  • Harrison Heiman and Lindsay Heiman react with fellow fans while watching the 2014 World Cup soccer match between the United States and Belgium at a viewing party in Atlanta, July 1, 2014.
  • Fans watch the U.S. - Belgium game at the FIFA Fan Fest Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 1, 2014. (Brian Allen/VOA)
  • Fans watch the U.S. - Belgium game at the FIFA Fan Fest Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 1, 2014. (Brian Allen/VOA)
  • Fans watch the U.S. - Belgium game in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 1, 2014. (Gesell Tobias/VOA)
  • American fans ready to support their team in the match against Belgium, Salvador, Brazil, July 1, 2014. (Nicholas Pinault/VOA)
Reuters

American football (soccer) fans decked out in red, white and blue flocked to stadiums and giant TV screens on Tuesday to cheer their national team in a World Cup clash with Belgium that could be the most-watched soccer game in U.S. history.

Strong performances by the U.S. team in Brazil have ignited passions in a country not known for its love of soccer. Though the Americans were underdogs in the match in Salvador's Fonte Nova arena, they went 0-0 for the first 90 minutes, losing 2-1 in extra time. And they gained plenty of new fans.

Free viewing parties were held from coast to coast, with fans crammed into sports bars and restaurants.

Fans watch the United States take on Belgium in their World Cup round of 16 match, at an event in Seattle, Washington, July 1, 2014.Fans watch the United States take on Belgium in their World Cup round of 16 match, at an event in Seattle, Washington, July 1, 2014.
x
Fans watch the United States take on Belgium in their World Cup round of 16 match, at an event in Seattle, Washington, July 1, 2014.
Fans watch the United States take on Belgium in their World Cup round of 16 match, at an event in Seattle, Washington, July 1, 2014.

Showing the spread of World Cup fever in areas obsessed with a different sort of football, some 2,000 fans lined up an hour early at the home of the NFL's Dallas Cowboys - the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas - to watch on one of the world's biggest video screens.

"This is the way this game should be watched. We need a big screen for a big game,'' said Evan Grant, 23, who had an American flag draped over his shoulders and a blue Mohawk with red and white stripes painted on his head.

A massive crowd, wearing red, white and blue from head to toe, chanted, "U-S-A! U-S-A!"

Watch related video report by VOA's Tala Hadavi

Record Number New Yorkers Watching World Cupi
X
Tala Hadavi
July 02, 2014 6:51 PM
Despite serious attempts to grow the tepid interest in the United States of soccer -- or football, as it is known internationally -- and its marquee event, the World Cup, the sport may have a long way to go before it becomes a so-called “religion” in the U.S. Still, record numbers of attendees have flocked to public viewings around the country. Tala Hadavi visited Bryant Park for VOA to get an idea of the soccer fever that has gripped New York City.

In Illinois, thousands also watched from Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears, and many of them warmed up for the game at tailgate parties in the stadium's parking lot.

Karl Epson, 25, and his girlfriend, Becky Oliver, 23, said they had driven a couple of hours from near Bloomington, Illinois, to be part of history.

“I really think we have a chance this time, we have finally arrived,'' said Epson, who was wearing a U.S. team shirt. "... I've waited my whole life for this moment. It's so awesome to finally be here.''

Nationwide gatherings

U.S. captain Clint Dempsey's major league soccer team, the Seattle Sounders, also called supporters to a viewing party at the city's CenturyLink field.

President Barack Obama led a Team USA cheer squad that includes America's biggest sports stars and celebrities.

Hundreds gathered in New York's Bryant Park. Elliot Hollander, 17, a high school soccer player from Weston, Connecticut, wore an American flag headband.

"Being able to watch my country do well in the World Cup is not something you get to see all the time, so it's really something to cheer about,'' Hollander said.

The official U.S. soccer Twitter account, ussoccer, advised fans to drink tea "so your vocal chords are 100 percent gameday ready,'' and to practice chants in the mirror.

It also encouraged them to clear their afternoon schedules while not forgetting to leave an out-of-the-office message on their email, and to paint their faces red, white and blue.

At the Campus Lounge bar in Denver, owner and former NHL Chicago Blackhawks ice hockey player Jim Wiste said that, for the first time, he had a home team to root for in soccer. Everyone in the bar stood for the U.S. national anthem before kickoff.

"I've seen a lot of sports events in a lot of places, and I've never seen anything like that,'' Wiste said. "It's good for the community.''

Belgium's win sets up a World Cup quarter-final clash with Argentina, and no doubt plenty of Americans will tune in.

Error rendering storify.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ricardo Vieira from: Brazil
July 01, 2014 8:04 PM
The U.S. team played with a lot of guts and determination. The players acted like true gladiators, the American spirit was in the air.
America can proudly tell the world that has a football team.
Thank America. You are always welcome in Brazil. We love you all.
Ricardo Vieira

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid