Soccer fans flooded the Piazza at Schmidt’s on Monday night to watch Team USA’s first 2014 World Cup appearance on the big screen. They were treated to a 2-1 upset victory over Ghana, a team that has defeated the USA in the last two World Cups.
“It’s good to watch the game with people who are enjoying it,” said Michael Beatrice, a former kicker on the Lafayette College Football Team. “Beats sitting at home on the couch.”
Though red, white and blue predominated, not everyone in the crowd was rooting for USA. Michael George, an educator in the Philadelphia School District, was rooting for Ghana.
George runs a foundation that builds schools and sends volunteers and school supplies to Ghana and Liberia.
“It’s life or death over there, as far sports go,” said George. “Last time, when they beat the U.S., it was a national holiday. And they shut down all of the businesses so people could watch. A win over there is 10 times more important than anything over here.”
Beatrice acknowledges that U.S. fans are not as passionate as those in other countries, but he says soccer is catching on in America. “It’s great to see what soccer has become in the U.S.,” he said.