News / USA

Social Media Organizers Bring World Cup Mania to Washington Neighborhood

Soccer fans in Washington get to watch the World Cup in a public park for the first time, Saturday, June 12, 2010.
Soccer fans in Washington get to watch the World Cup in a public park for the first time, Saturday, June 12, 2010.

Multimedia

Nico Colombant

Social media organizers in Washington have brought World Cup soccer mania to their neighborhood, by screening Saturday's matches on two big screens at a local public park.  While a tradition in many cities around the world, it was a first for the U.S. capital, and was celebrated accordingly.

Fans came out in droves for all three first-round matches of the day, and had loud chants for each team, including the United States.

One of the organizers, Michael Lipin (disclosure: Lippin is a VOA employee), explained some of the process which led to the neighborhood event he dubbed "Dupont Festival, Soccer in the Circle." "One of the first things I did as soon as I came up with this idea and the neighborhood commissioners liked it, was to create a Facebook group to encourage my own personal friends to join it and beyond that we started pitching our idea to other members of the community and we had to think about logistics and how we could actually raise money," he said.

Half the money was donated by the Brazilian sugar cane industry association, UNICA.

Other help came from U.S. soccer supporter groups the "Screaming Eagles" and "American Outlaws."

Watch an audio slideshow of the festivities in the DC park during the game:

One volunteer from the American Outlaws, Chris Pavlakos, said he felt soccer was finally becoming important in the United States. "It is a slow change, but it is a steady change. I really think that if we had tried this five, 10 years ago, it would not have worked," he said.

But he said there was still a long way to go before soccer was embraced as the world's most popular sport. "This is the only country in the world that I can think of that a team of volunteers has to get together and raise $20,000 to get a public screening of the World Cup in the nation's capital," he said.

A 21-year-old Nigerian who came to the United States as a student, Rotimi Iziduh, enjoyed the experience, even though Nigeria lost to Argentina. "When you see the passion, how the players are enjoying the game, how the fans are enjoying the game, how everyone is getting into it, even if you do not really understand all the rules and things like that, it is just so infectious," he said.

A waitress from Bolivia, Amalia Molina, came for the United States-England match, and explained the universal appeal of the sport. "Soccer is a game where nobody can see the color of skin or something like that. People can be happy just for a goal," she said.

D.C. local chess legend Thomas Murphy sat at his usual every Saturday spot  behind a chessboard in Dupont Circle.  While he enjoyed the commotion over soccer, he said he hoped organizers would also have a public screening for the current NBA basketball championships between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. Basketball, unlike soccer, is one of the major sports in the United States, with American football and baseball.

"Tomorrow night, when Boston plays the Lakers I want to see that on the big screen TV. You know what I am saying, that would be justice.  You all get to see your soccer which I enjoy, but I want to see the NBA finals," he said.

That will not be happening.  But organizers said they wanted to raise more money to repeat the event for the World Cup soccer finals on July 11th, whether or not the United States team makes it to that match.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid