DANVILLE — Every four years, large groups of soccer fans gather around their televisions to watch the World Cup.
This year, millions of Americans are getting into the spirit and that includes a group of more than 50 fans that showed up on Monday afternoon at Snappers Bar and Grill at Turtle Run and that group was delighted when the United States opened Group G play with a 2-1 victory over Ghana.
“Soccer is the world sport and it’s building in the United States,’’ said Danville soccer coach Chris Griffin, who unofficially organized the viewing party at Snappers. “It’s the most popular youth sport. I think the ratings are going to show that everyone is behind it.
“We definitely had a great turnout here at Turtle Run, and there was a lot of non-soccer people here to support the United States.’’
Unofficially, there were 62 people watching when John Brooks header found the back of the net in the 86th minute giving the Americans an all-important opening-game victory.
“This win is huge to build the popularity this year,’’ Griffin said.
Adnan Abdelghani, the president of Danville Area Soccer Association, was one of the group of American supporters on hand on Monday, along with Danville High principal Phil Cox, former Danville coach Gabe Lutterschmidt along with several Danville High soccer players and a couple of former all-area selections, Pete Goodwin from Schlarman and Dennis Forrest of Danville.
“This is huge, it is building the soccer experience by watching the World Cup,’’ Abdelghani said. “This is going to enhance the game and get the word out about soccer. We’re very thrilled and very happy with the result and the exposure that soccer is getting in the United States.’’
But, why did Griffin decided to organize a viewing party?
“You see all the World Cup viewing parties around the world, whether its at Copacabana Beach in Brazil or Millennium Park in Chicago, it looks like a lot of fun,’’ Griffin said. “There are a lot of true soccer fans in Vermilion County. So, why not get together and enjoy this experience?