By Brianna Bartello
Christian Pulisic, the youngest player on the United States men’s national soccer team, dribbles the ball down the field with an open goal right in front of him. The restaurant bar goes nuts watching the play live on television. Quickly, another player blocks his shot, and the crowd sighs loudly. Pulisic then passes the ball to his teammate, Clint Dempsey–with the crowd getting louder again–and he shoots and scores the first goal against Panama. Screaming, everyone stood up and started singing “USA! USA! USA!” while high-fiving one another.
Now that football season has ended, what sports are people gathering to watch now? For one, soccer. The World Cup is right around the corner as many countries are competing for that trophy. In 2014, the United States made it to the round of 16 before losing to Belgium in extra time, 2-1. Now, with a stronger team than three years ago, the United States is currently ranked in the middle of the CONCACAF standings four games into the 10-match tournament. Landon Donovan, a former player on the United States team, was one of the many among the crowd, shouting at the restaurant’s television after his teammate, Dempsey scored a goal.
Sean Williams, another crowd member at the restaurant, explained his thoughts on why people were in such great community.
“The reason people are here is because of the beautiful sport and American pride.” Williams also explained how at the last viewing party he signed the petition to bring an MLS team to San Diego and also the remodeling of Qualcomm Stadium. Since this petition needs many signatures for the plans to be green lit, Williams urged everyone around him to sign the petition, and many customers gladly did.
Andy Ritchie, a student from Point Loma Nazarene University, who was born and raised from Scotland, rooted for the American team despite the fact that he is not American. “It is a great atmosphere and I think it is good to see soccer supported like this,” said Ritchie. “Even in the U.S., this sport is not as big as other sports, and as a foreigner, I think it is very interesting to see the American fans so patriotic for the way they celebrated and cheered for their team.”
Accompanied by Ritchie was his colleague, Finn Tiedemann, a PLNU student from Germany. “We are proud of this country, so we are celebrating every goal,” said Tiedemann. “Having Donovan standing in this restaurant, screaming right next to us was something I will never forget.”
Tiedemann also explained how the sense of community within the restaurant was very moving, relating it to how his friends and family would react in similar ways when watching their country’s soccer team.
The U.S. soccer team’s next qualifying match will be on June 8 against Trinidad and Tobago.