Soccer rejuvenated

In the land of the gridiron, diamond and hardwood, soccer competes among many American sports for recognition.

In the land of the gridiron, diamond and hardwood, soccer competes among many American sports for recognition.

Thousands of children from all over the country play the game every year and soccer moms deliver mini-vans full of treats for halftime rejuvenation, but something happens when the children grow and move beyond school competitions. Soccer is not highly covered past college and games are rarely televised.

People forget about soccer.

Then every four years, a worldwide reminder brings them back to the competitive and passionate nature that surrounds the sport. Welcome to the World Cup, where countries from all over the globe send their best in hopes of claiming global recognition and honor.

Better than any Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Final or Stanley Cup, the World Cup doesn’t get bogged down with the same team dominating the competition. This is the Olympics of soccer.

A player only gets two to three chances for a World Cup title—four if they’re lucky. David Beckham was going to be the first English player to appear in four World Cups, but a ruptured Achilles tendon ended that dream. No other sport can compete on the worldwide level or have such a global following like soccer.

This year’s World Cup is being hosted by South Africa, which poses some viewing challenges to its West Coast viewers. With early-morning matches, the latest of which begin at 11:30 a.m., watching at home seems to be the only option.

In cities across the country, however, pubs have opened at these irregular hours to support public viewing of the action on the South African pitch. The Thirsty Lion in downtown Portland is among the many places to go to watch any and all World Cup matches. Jersey-wearing fans join together for breakfast, giveaways and the chance to root together for their favorite teams.

U.S. fans grew as the team made the Round of 16. Everyone watched and hoped for another miraculous victory by the U.S. as they went up against Ghana on Saturday morning. Unfortunately, after the last minutes of extra time ticked away, Ghana moved on to the next round with a 2-1 win.

Though the American squad will not advance into the quarterfinals, the 2010 campaign brought about hope and excitement for a sport that has been largely lost among the crowd of sports.