Fadó is an Irish Pub and we show soccer, football, footy, futebol ….whatever you want to call it, over 9 months out of the year. It’s been like that since we opened our doors over 18 years ago. It’s like The Law -only more serious. Our fans from the beginning were largely expats and international travelers cramming in and around our TVs for coffee and pints in the wee hours of the morning to catch the English Premier League. From the beginning, we wanted the experience for expats, those guys who grew up watching football at the pubs back in Ireland, England and throughout Europe, to be just like home. We always made the matches available live — with sound on. And, back then we gladly paid the satellite package fee as well. Remember, Lionel Bienvenu on Fox Sports? We do. Point is, over all these years we have watched the American soccer fan base grow steadily. (We wrote a little about it here with the MLS announcement in Atlanta).
During this World Cup, the turnout by the USA fans has been nothing short of fantastic! And I don’t mean just at our bar. The Fandemonium is a thing. Everywhere. #Ibelievethatwewillwin Unfortunately, Tuesday’s loss was pretty crushing. Excruciating, in fact. And, there was a collective le sigh heard across America as the clock ran out during EXTRA time in the 2-1 loss to Belgium. Tim Howard …now a legend. Belgium’s Captain, Vincent Kompany, showed his respect immediately after the game and so did the rest of the World. #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave has been trending for 2 days straight.
…More on that later.
So given our long history of supporting footy year-around, at Fadó we have always been psyched for the big tournaments —Euros and World Cup which, luckily for us, rotate every couple of years. It’s in these tournaments that you witness the best atmosphere and display of national pride from all the footy-loving countries in one space. We love it. No matter where the loyalties lie.
World Cup 2014 is no different. Unfortunately though, Ireland didn’t qualify …hell, Ireland hasn’t qualified since 2002. It doesn’t matter (well aside from a nation of dreams being crushed), our excitement for the Cup hasn’t diminished one bit. Here at the pub, we’ve all got a team. USA. Yea, we were absolutely pulling for our boys. We’re an official US Soccer bar for God sakes and we love our USMNT supporters and their clubs, like in Philly, Seattle and Miami (to name a few) who call us home year-round. As far as the World Cup is concerned, we all have other teams we love too. It’s the nature of the tournament. You support your home team and your other home team. This is America after all, and almost everyone comes from somewhere else. It’s what makes us great.
And, we all choose our B teams based on perfectly [legit] reasons too. Perhaps:
#1 — Your grandparents are immigrants from Russia
#2 — Your brother in law is from Greece.
#3 — You took a trip to Chile during a year off in college to find yourself.
#4 — Your husband proposed to you in Paris.
#5 — You once vacationed in Costa Rica and just LOVE the beaches.
Even if you don’t have a team, you know exactly who you don’t support too. No need to get snarky here… but we all know who and what I am talking about.
So at our bar – you pick your team but you always have 1 or 2 on standby. Because, let’s be honest, the chances of your team making it through (England, Spain, Italy …say wha?!) are pretty slim. So you need a back up – a team you can get behind and redirect all of that pent-up energy and brooding love. Case in point: I only started pulling for Mexico after about the 50th minute against Brazil …it was that Ochoa. He had the game of his life and he sucked me in. Mexico was lucky to even qualify for the Cup and ultimately lost in a heart breaker in the Round of 16 to the Netherlands. It was the final minutes and there was Robben + a dive + a penalty which ended things quite abruptly for my new team. And that Dutch team, who I was pulling for at the start, I quickly found myself wanting to lose. That said, I picked Holland to make it to the final in my bracket so I technically need them to do well. My point is, the Cup sucks you in and divides you. You REALLY do care about more than one team. It’s an emotional roller coaster, frankly. Trying to love two (or more) sure ain’t easy. But, it’s World Cup fever, and it doesn’t break easy.
It really is about all this drama …it’s what makes the World Cup so special.
Still dubious? Then you haven’t seen the fans. The passion and commitment game after game. This is what makes the experience at our bar so special. Just last week, on an ‘average’ Thursday, during an early round game against Ivory Coast, a group from Colombia was here singing and dancing for 4 hours straight. They came to our bar (instead of any old sports bar “near work”) because they KNOW how committed we are. The games are on ALL the TVs, the sound IS ON, AND there’s simply not a bad seat in the house.
As things wind down (or gear up) in the knockout stage, we are seeing something pretty great here in the States (which is only a good thing for the sport in America) ….the CONCACAF has absolutely shown up in ways few expected. USA, Mexico, Costa Rica have all out performed expectations, and, dare I say — earned a bit of respect.
So back to the Yanks and that loss yesterday.
When you are surrounded by expats day in and day out, you no doubt hear all the World Cup stories. Their stories of crushing or epic moments from THEIR team on the pitch. Platt’s goal in the final minute of extra time for England against Belgium to go through to the Quarters in Italia ‘90 or when Ray Houghton scored for Ireland to upset Italy in their first game of USA ‘94. These stories ARE great. And, now — I really get it. USA had its moment and we’ll be talking about Howard’s 16 saves and this defeat for a long time. The US has a bar story now too.
Friday and Saturday are the Quarters with Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Belgium, Costa Rica, Netherlands, Germany and France still left …a huge weekend of drama no doubt.
So, I’ve already changed my Facebook profile to reflect Plan B. How about you?