Of the 32 countries participating in the World Cup, only the United States carries on like nothing is happening. Despite hosting the Cup in 1994 and having respectable finishes in 2006 and 2010, most of the United States gives a collective shrug. But if you have lived in a foreign country during the World Cup, you have witnessed how a whole country will stop to watch their team play. I grew up in central Mexico, and I remember being pulled out of the classroom to watch the game. It is virtually impossible to escape the matches — they even announce updates of the scores in grocery stores.
Unsure of where to go in San Diego to live the passion, I asked around on Twitter. Herculez Gomez, former U.S. Men's National Team striker and San Diego Socker and current player for Xolos de Tijuana, had no real answer. The USMNT fan support group, the San Diego American Outlaws, told me about O'Briens Pub up in Clairemont, which is not my usual SD turf.
Unsatisfied, I turned to local Redditors for the best place to watch the games. That's where I found out about North Park Fan Zone (World Cup North Park 2014).
“The generation now becoming adults have all played the game since their childhood and are fans. MLS is the 6th most attended soccer league in the world and US players are getting opportunities in the best leagues,” says Brandon Maskell, the marketing director of Soccerloco (one of the many WCNP2014 sponsors).
For the first time, I'm actually excited to watch United States Men's National Team games in 'Muricah. It seems like the country, for the first time, cares about the biggest sport event in the world and San Diego has planned a way to really live it. 20+ venues in North Park are opening to soccerheads like myself to support the Stars and Stripes and to live the passion of the sport like the rest of the world does.
The USA is in one of the toughest groups, facing Ghana, Portugal and Germany. The first game is on Monday, June 16th at 3 p.m against Ghana. They will face Portugal and superstar Cristiano Ronado for their second game, on Sunday, June 22nd at 3 p.m. Finally, Jurgen Klinsmann (USA's head coach) will have to face his own country. USA versus Germany is on Thursday, June 26th at 9 a.m.
The following venues will be showing World Cup matches live as part of the North Park Fan Zone:
Bar Pink, Caffe Calabria, The Office, Bluefoot, Coin-Op, Endzone Sports Bar & Grill, Hess Brewing Company, Il Postino, Lefty's Chicago Pizzeria, Mosaic Wine Bar, Queen Bee's, Ritual Tavern, Redwing, Sicilian Thing, Soccerloco, Toronado, True North, URBN, Urban Solace, U-31, Wang's Chinese, Waypoint, West Coast.