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

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space 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.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
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.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid