Soccer fans gather to celebrate World Cup

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah fans of the world's biggest game are celebrating Friday with the kickoff of soccer's World Cup in South Africa. They're practically giddy about a particular marquee matchup Saturday.

The United States and England will face off, and around the world Yanks and Brits will no doubt be exchanging pleasantries.

You could call it the Quadrennial Itch: The World Cup is played every four years.

Fans around the globe celebrate and participate. For some, it's not a World Cup without the purchase of national team gear.

The Soccer Plus store in Salt Lake City typically sees a big spike in sales every time the Cup is in play.

World Cup watch party
Green Street Social Club
Trolley Square
602 E. 500 South
Salt Lake City

All World Cup matches will be shown everyday at Green Street, June 11 - July 11.

"People will want everything and anything to do with World Cup," said store owner Jim Sciumbato. "Balls, scarves, shirts, posters, anything I can get."

The mania includes more than a few hours in front of the TV.

"I got up at 5:30 this morning to go watch the game," Sciumbato said. "That's what I'll be doing every morning for the next week."

"I've been watching World Cup soccer every four years," said soccer fan Daniel Frommel. This year, he said, he'll be "skipping a lot of work" to watch the games.

The U.S.-versus-England match is being described as "epic." Pubs and bars are preparing to be packed.

Utah's championship franchise Real Salt Lake is hosting a watch party at Greene Street in Trolley Square.

"With the World Cup it is pretty exciting just because it's a universal event," said bartender Molly Flynn. "Everyone comes out, turns out here and gets excited for the World Cup for soccer."

At the University of Utah, an international crowd gathered to watch Friday's kickoff games, anticipating spending a lot of time here in the coming month.

"At this time I would love to be in Africa because everything stops, not only in Africa but Europe," said soccer fan Stephen Macauley.

"How should we party? We shouldn't even be on TV right now. Everyone should be out hanging out, watching a great game and having a good time, you know, being out with friends and celebrating," said Juan Aldape. "Work should be cancelled for an entire month."

The U.S.-England game kicks off a little after noon. England are heavy favorites, so if the U.S. wins it'll be one of the biggest upsets since, say, the American Revolution.


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John Daley


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