Chicago Fans Gather Early, Often For World Cup
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CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s mid morning at the Globe Pub and all eyes are to the TV screens as Mexico plays Cameroon.
“I love soccer, I played soccer. This is my game. I’m rooting for Mexico,” said Juan Salas.
For many Chicago soccer fans, the World Cup is the holy grail of sports.
“This is a religion to us. It’s the World Cup,” said Maria Turrueviarta.
The Irving Park pub sports the world’s flags above its store front, but inside there are three big rooms packed with fans, donning their favorite soccer team jerseys, dozens of televisions above several bars.
For Owner Stuart Johnston, this is the Super Bowl for his business.
“We are packed every day. So many people from different nationalities. We’ve got three games today. We’re going to have Dutch, Spanish, Chilean, Australian. We already have the Mexicans.”
Johnston says he prepares for weeks for the World Cup and its fans.
“It’s been chaotic over the last month. I’ve added restaurants, expanded, I’ve tripled my staff.”
And while Americans tend to favor basketball, baseball, hockey and football, soccer fans say it’s a sport that is slowly but surely catching on in the U.S.
“I really think it’s strange. It’s so cheap, all you need is a round ball, you don’t need pads or anything like this but it’s certainly developing now and the majority of our fan base is Americans,” said Johnston.
“Everybody knows soccer isn’t that popular in the U.S. I think it’s a process of evolution. A lot of the diversity in the states are starting to appreciate the game more and more. I think it’s a process of ten to fifteen years before it really catches on,” said Sam Simon, soccer fan.
Johnston spends over $1,000 a month on satellite TV so he can provide sports from around the world. The world cup continues through July 13th.