World Cup fever spreads, leaves fans wanting more

Stephanie Neumann

For the first time in 80 years, the U.S. Men’s National Soccer team placed first in their World Cup group. The victory came as a result of a win over Algeria when USA’s Landon Donovan scored the game-winning goal in the 91st minute.

While the U.S. made it to the quarterfinals in 2002, soccer fever seemed to catch on just this year. In fact, according to The Washington Post’s Soccer Insider blog, the USA-Ghana game was the most watched men’s soccer game ever in the United States.

However, Team USA lost to Ghana with a score of 2-1 in a grueling 120-minute match that included a round of overtime. The loss knocked Team USA out of the tournament and dashed the hope of fans who have rooted for the team all their lives.

“I’m just disappointed because we should have and could have won that game,” said Alyssa Lunstrom, sophomore athletic training major who has been playing and watching soccer for 10 years.

Although there are U.S. soccer fans like Lunstrom around, many people just can’t seem to get into the hype. Lauren Zakelj, a junior integrated science major, knew the U.S. had won some games in the World Cup, but she really isn’t watching the games or paying attention to the tournament.

“Maybe [I’d pay attention] if it was more popular and publicized,” Zakelj said.

“I’m not that into soccer and I don’t know any of the players.”

Zakelj is not alone in the U.S. with her apathy toward soccer.

Kevin Stone is a junior communication studies major from Germany. He said he wishes he were back in Germany for the World Cup.

“You can hear the shouts in the streets and the cheering everywhere when Germany scores. I remember 2006 when Germany hosted it,” he said. “I had just finished German high school then and watched the games. The energy was amazing; the whole country supported them.”

Here, in the United States, Stone sees several reasons why soccer has not really caught on.

“Americans seem to be very jumpy. They jump on and off wagons as they move by,” Stone said. “A lot of people won’t care about the World Cup now that the US is coming home. If we aren’t good at it, we don’t care.”

Stone also cites the lack of violence, broadcasting issues and the low-scoring tendency as reasons why soccer is still not America’s number one pastime.

However, he and multiple other fans around the country still have their own reasons to love soccer.

“I enjoy watching soccer because of the non-stop action. Sure, there aren’t any tackles or steals or even fights, but it’s constant tension,” Stone said. “Things can happen in less than a minute.”

Contact student life reporter Stephanie Neumann at [email protected].