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

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More