San Francisco

World Cup Fever Takes Over Bay Area

Whether you are in Brazil watching it in person or keeping tabs on your team from your living room couch, World Cup fever is sweeping the globe.

Fans in downtown San Jose were at a day-long watch party. Three games were shown there Saturday, and another three will be on the big screen Sunday.

People said it is a great way to gather with other soccer fans to cheer on what many believe is the world’s most popular sport.

"The World Cup--it’s an event that everyone is waiting for, for 4 years," soccer fan John Ayon said.

Even though San Jose is 6,500 miles away from Rio de Janeiro where the world cup is being played, fans are getting in on the action.

"I am a hockey fan, and I started watching soccer because it’s like hockey on grass for me, and World Cup just brings everyone together," World Cup watcher Lacey Westgate said. "It’s like the Olympics, so good to watch."

"Fans of Japan or Ivory Coast--it doesn’t matter," another soccer fan David Sandoval said. "We’re just having a good time here."

The biggest matches over the next month are being shown on a big screen in downtown San Jose or in nearby St. James Park.

"We are always waiting for it because we see the best players in the world," Javier Gutierrez said. "These are the best teams you know? Those tricks, those goals. Those goals are awesome. That’s the great thing about that."

An estimated 700 million people are watching the World Cup across the globe. San Francisco is hosting similar watch parties in its Civic Center Plaza.

"It brings everyone together for one purpose and that is to enjoy sports, get along, and root for your team," Sandoval said. "And if you don’t have a team, at least you’re rooting for the sport itself."

While soccer is not nearly as popular in the U.S. as it is in other countries, fans said they hope the World Cup will inspire a bigger following in America.

"It’s definitely huge in Mexico and Brazil," World Cup fan Daniel Velasco said. "Everywhere else in the world, it’s huge, but I think  you see a lot of American people here, so I think if they just start supporting the sport a little bit more, they could love it even more than football."

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