I am impressed by the level of excitement here in Atlanta ahead of the World Cup. There are signs in front of bars, coaxing fans to watch the tournament while drinking at their establishments; daily articles in the press (even LOCAL papers!); and conversations between people I never knew followed soccer/football, talking about where they play to watch, and who think they will win.
During the ’02 and ’06 World Cups, I was living in London, where you couldn’t avoid getting drawn into the hoopla: there were fans decked out in their country’s kit, screaming newspaper headlines, and constant World Cup chatter everywhere you looked.
Here, I expected football fever to pass the country by. But instead, people seem to suddenly be soccer fans, holding viewing parties, complete with barbecues, to watch the US play England on Saturday.
I hope that the excitement lasts, even if the US team doesn’t.