News / USA

US World Cup Festival Draws Thousands to Washington Park, Again

DC Hosts World Cup Watching in the Parki
X
June 27, 2014 3:07 AM
In Thursday's World Cup action in Brazil, the United States advanced to the second round of the tournament for the second time in a row. Several thousand fans showed up to watch the USA-Germany game on big screens in a Washington neighborhood - the city's largest public viewing of the World Cup so far. VOA's Michael Lipin joined the excitement and has this report.

DC Hosts World Cup Watching in the Park

American passion for World Cup football was on full display in Washington as several thousand fans flocked to a popular neighborhood to watch the U.S. national team take on Germany.

Thursday's fan fest in Dupont Circle Park drew a largely pro-U.S. crowd of longtime football enthusiasts along with relative newcomers to the art of cheering for a football team on a mass scale.

Many of the American newcomers joined the experienced fans in dressing appropriately for the occasion, wearing U.S. national team jerseys or other types of American flag-themed apparel.

"I think it's a great display of patriotism," said Eric Miller, from neighboring Virginia. "It makes me proud to be an American."

For his girlfriend, Briana Havrialesky of Maryland, it was a new experience. "I've never done something like this for a sporting event," she said. "But soccer is really exciting at this time of year, and it doesn't get any better than the World Cup."

German diplomats' key role

The German Embassy in Washington hosted the event, providing the funds to set up two big screens, side by side, to broadcast the first round match live and free for the pubic.

Embassy officials worked with local nonprofit group Dupont Festival to source the equipment and secure the necessary permits from world football governing body FIFA and the U.S. National Park Service, which manages the park.

The organizers built on the success of Washington's first major World Cup fan fest which drew a similarly large crowd in 2010.

Back then, a group of neighborhood activists developed a city-wide coalition to broadcast three first-round matches from South Africa, including USA versus England, on two big screens at opposite ends of the same park.

German Ambassador to the United States Peter Wittig said the goal of this year's event was to emulate the football festivals that attract huge crowds in Germany.

"In our country, soccer is clearly number one, while here in the United States, it is one sport among others," Wittig said. "I know it's very big in American schools, but it's now on the national radar as well, and the better the U.S. team performs in the World Cup, the more the sport's popularity will rise in the United States."

US, German fans revel in rivalry

American fan Frank Vasquez, who sported a Captain America super-hero outfit, said he believes further World Cup progress for the United States will resonate around the world.

"It will mean that we are better than other countries not only in our sports, but in their sports as well," Vasquez said.

Hundreds of Germany supporters also made their presence felt in the park as their team took the lead in the 55th minute. Many waved the black, red and gold national flag and responded to chants of "USA, USA!" with "Deutschland, Deutschland!" in a friendly competition with the Americans surrounding them.

Jutta Uhl of Wiesbaden, Germany said she had fun, but wished the screens could have been bigger to provide a better view.

Her husband Ralph also noted one key difference with football viewing parties back home.

"In Germany, we can drink beer!" he said. Fans at the Washington event were prohibited from consuming alcohol due to National Park Service regulations.

The match ended in a 1-0 victory for Germany, as the world's number-two ranked team repeatedly frustrated American attempts to score an equalizer.

Looking on the bright side

But there was little disappointment among the U.S. fans in Dupont Circle, as they learned that their team would be joining Germany in the World Cup's coveted knockout stage thanks to Portugal's defeat of Ghana in a simultaneous match.

After the final whistle, 21-year-old German fan Sabrina Sandru had some encouragement for her American counterparts.

"Just come out and support your team and they will do better!" she said.

"Cheer more, that's a good tip!" added her German friend, Angela.

With other U.S. cities such as Chicago and New York also hosting World Cup fan fests, such events may finally become an American tradition.

  • Fans watch the USA-Germany game in Dupont Circle.
  • German fans cheer at the Fan Fest, which was sponsored by the German embassy.
  • Thursday's fan fest in Dupont Circle Park drew a largely pro-U.S. crowd.
  • German couple Ralph and Jutta Uhl react to Germany’s winning goal against the USA in Washington’s Dupont Circle Park on Thursday, June 26, 2014.
  • Fans watch the match.
  • Two screens were set up for fans to watch.


Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: riano baggy from: indonesia
June 27, 2014 8:36 AM
Congratulation for US soccer team, we hope football can most popular sports in states like american football,baseball,basketball and tennis etc, we know many talent players in states, with continues matches next world cup US can participates with good players and .........get the world cup trophy. LETS be apart .football families

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid