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

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid