Locals tune in to World Cup | PostIndependent.com

Locals tune in to World Cup

Post Independent/Kelley Cox

Soccer’s World Cup is perhaps the biggest sporting event in the entire world – to some people bigger than even the Olympics. And a lot of Colorado residents agree.”It’s more than just a sport. It’s a religion,” said Aspen High School soccer coach John Gilles, who has had a television set up in his Aspen juice bar so he wouldn’t miss a single game while he works.”This is what we’ve been waiting for,” said Rudy Carlo, who works at Tequila’s restaurant in Glenwood Springs.Though Gilles is from England and Carlo is from Mexico, they share an international passion for soccer (or football, as it’s known to those who live outside the U.S.).Another link they share is that neither was born in the U.S. And as most readers are already aware, soccer is not the most popular sport in the U.S.Most local sports bar owners haven’t planned any events surrounding the Cup, and don’t have drink specials or bar incentives the way many do for Broncos games.

“Americans don’t seem to have much interest in [the World Cup],” said Scott Outten, co-owner of Stubbies Sports Bar in Basalt.Outten said that though he will happily change any of his establishment’s numerous TVs to World Cup games if asked, he simply doesn’t expect much demand.”It’s a cultural thing. American football is what’s popular here,” Outten said.”Other countries are willing to start and stop civil wars around the soccer season,” said Carbondale resident Dave Ritchie, who coaches the Carbondale Soccer Club. Here, however, “football, baseball and basketball are still dominant sports.”Even Claddaugh’s Irish Pub, in Carbondale, isn’t soccer oriented, even though the United Kingdom is renowned for its love of the sport.”I don’t know how many people are going to be interested in it. It’s mostly football and hockey around here,” said Claddaugh’s owner Mary Donnelly, who added that she doesn’t have much of an interest in the Cup herself.

But others, like Ritchie and his friend Chris Woods, see soccer as a quickly burgeoning sport with a popularity level on the rise.”There’s definitely a lot of soccer people around the valley,” said Woods, who works at the Carbondale Rec Center. Woods, who is originally from Australia, says that the better Team U.S.A. gets at the game, the more likely that the general populace will become interested in the sport.”Seeing as how the States got the fifth seed in the cup, it’s definitely done a lot to arouse curiosity in people,” said Woods.Many area residents said they expect they’re going to be watching most of the games at home, as opposed to congregating in bars.”It’s kind of tough this year, because it runs into a lot of people’s work schedules,” said Ritchie.Javier Vedreo, a host at Fiesta Guadalajara in Glenwood Springs, said though he couldn’t wait for the Cup to start, he doesn’t have any big plans.

“I’m just going to watch games at home when I can,” he said quietly. Vedreo moved to Glenwood only a month ago from Mexico, but he’s already involved enough in the local soccer culture that he put $50 into a pool with some co-workers and friends.”If I win, I’ll get $700,” said Vedreo with a grin.Carlo said that he and his friends haven’t started a pool, but he said that after a few games, money will definitely start changing hands.Ritchie said that he’s started a $10 pool with about 15 friends.Contact John Schroyer: 945-8515, ext. 529 jschroyer@postindependent.com

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