Not everyone can be in Brazil, but thanks to watch parties across the United States, U.S. Men’s National Team supporters are able to get a taste of an atmosphere that resembles what it’s like on the ground at this summer’s FIFA World Cup. Soccer fans suited up in their favorite gear and gathered to cheer on the players in red, white and blue from east to west coast, and everywhere in between. Fans flocked to parks, bars and friend’s homes to watch captain Clint Dempsey lead the U.S. MNT to a heart-pounding 2-1 victory against Ghana.
In Chicago, home to U.S. Soccer Federation HQ, around 7,000 fans gathered around the 33-foot wide high-definition screen at the south end of Grant Park. Fans trickled in the lead up to the game to save their spots and mingle before kickoff.
Lupe Fiasco, the U.S. Men’s National Team Music Director, amped up the crowd before the match with a seven-song set. During his performance, U.S. Soccer Art Director and renowned graffiti artist Futura created a “live” work of art to the right of the stage. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Fiasco joined a small crowd of fans in a friendly game after his performance.
Throughout the match, the crowd experienced the ups and downs of the USA’s important World Cup opener as a community of faithful soccer fans.
A few states to the east, soccer fans in New York City flocked to Nevada Smiths in the East Village to cheer on the USA. The bar, which has become synonymous with soccer in the area, was packed with dedicated fans that went wild and chanted on the streets outside after the win. Paddy McCarthy, owner of the bar, reported to CBS New York that World Cup business is even better than on St. Patrick’s Day.
“The World Cup is like 35 St. Patrick’s Days all wrapped into one,” McCarthy said to CBS. “It really goes on for about five weeks and it’s fantastic.”
Over on the west coast, more than one thousand people filled San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza for the game. According to the Bay City News, attendees sat on lawn chairs and picnic blankets to watch the game on a big screen. Other watch parties in the Bay Area were held at the Plaza de César Chávez in San Jose and the New Parkway Theater in Oakland.
According to the San Antonio Express-News, an estimated 800 people watched the match inside the Palladium IMAX Theater in San Antonio. The Crocketeers, Texas’s largest soccer supporters group, hosted the event and blocked off three theaters for the event. Many members of the San Antonio chapter of the American Outlaws were in attendance as well. Before the game, fans danced in the theater, blew horns and chanted “When the Yanks Go Marching In.”
With the second match against Portugal on the horizon, more watch parties have been scheduled across the nation. The second watch party hosted in Chicago by U.S. Soccer will take place at Lower Hutchinson Field, near Columbus Drive between Roosevelt Road and Balboa Avenue, in Grant Park on Sunday, June 22 at 5 p.m. CT.
Supported by the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Sports Commission, the event is free and open to the public. A U.S. Soccer Fan Fest area, which will be open for much of the day, will accompany each viewing party. U.S. Soccer merchandise, food and beverages will be available for purchase, as well as other limited-edition products.
The third viewing party in Chicago for the U.S. MNT team game against Germany will take place on June 26 at Petrillo Music Shell at Butler Field, near Columbus Drive and Jackson Street intersection in Grant Park, at 11 a.m. CT.
Not going to be in Chicago during one of the games? Don’t miss out on the fun. Find an Official U.S. Soccer Bar near you!