Soccer Fans Disappointed but Proud After US Team's World Cup Loss
Mere minutes before, the excited crowd was filled with hope.
The United States had survived 90 minutes of regulation time and scored one goal in the extra 30 minutes in its World Cup soccer match against a dominant Belgium team. Fans chanted "USA" and "I believe that we will win" for nearly a minute after the United States scored its first and only goal, although the team still trailed by one. The game still felt in reach for fans.
But as quickly as it had begun, the game was over, with Belgium handing the Americans a disappointing 2-1 loss. Area soccer fans who gathered at Local Whiskey, 107 E. Beaver Ave., hoped for a different outcome. Sure, they were proud their team made it that far, but the the disappointment was palpable.
Nearly every bar in downtown State College was packed Tuesday afternoon to watch the United States Men’s National Team battle Belgium for a chance to play in the quarterfinals of the FIFA World Cup.
While he didn't care for the end result, State College resident Nate Weber says there's much to be happy about.
“I am so excited about the transformation I’ve seen during this World Cup,” Weber says. “Everyone is realizing how exciting the game is to watch.”
For many who gathered to watch the game, it wasn’t about soccer -- it was about patriotism. The group mentality was: “I want to cheer on my team surrounded by my fellow Americans.”
Penn State graduate student Mark Ullery says there's something special about everyone rooting for the same team. Twenty people from Ullery’s lab came along.
“The team is a reflection of our country,” Ullery says. “The people on our team reflect who we are. Of course I wanted to watch.”
Soccer mania hasn’t always existed in the United States. A few World Cups ago, Weber remembers he couldn’t even find a television with the game on. Now, it’s hard to find a place where the game isn’t being shown.
Soccer is much more popular in Europe than in the United States. Growing up in Germany, Penn State doctoral student Juliane Schicker was constantly watching and playing the sport.
Naturally, Schicker just couldn’t miss the game. Schicker rescheduled a class she was supposed to teach at the same time the game was being played.
“Well I grew up around the sport and I’ve always loved it,” she says. “I’m happy it has caught on here.”