Monday, July 14, 2014
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- It's the day after the World Cup. The celebration is slowly settling in Brazil.
Here at home? The celebration of soccer has local players hooked, especially in the Georgia/South Carolina Bulls club team.
"People have maybe thought that maybe someday I want to be in that (World Cup) and try soccer," 10-year-old Reagan said.
"I think I've only been playing a few days. People have been cheering for the USA and that's my favorite team," 7-year-old Karim said.
Hey, kids don't lie and neither do record TV ratings in the US. There's a lot to like about the World Cup. Kids like the players. They like the teams. And their fandom doesn't rest just with the US.
"I'm sad that the Netherlands is out because that was my team after USA. Now, I'm going for Argentina," Reagan said.
Well, Reagan didn't get her wish. Even Lionel Messi couldn't save the Argentinians from Germany in a 1-0 World Cup finals loss.
However, this World Cup may be saved in the memory of young players.
The Georgia/South Carolina Bulls club team has seen a 30 to 40 percent increase since the world tournament began.
"You have two clubs in the area that are both very successful. Our high school teams do real well. Soccer is a big sport in our area and I think it's only going to continue to grow," Georgia/South Carolina Bulls coach Andrew Hammer said.
What would lead to more growth is more goals from our icons. Hammer thinks a US superstar making it on the world stage would change the game.
"We have to have some heroes and some superstars in the US that these kids can relate to," Hammer said.
Every four years, soccer grows to a high level in the states. How long will it stay? That depends on teams like the Bulls growing even more.
"In foreign countries, it's soccer. They're born with a soccer ball at their feet, they play in the school yards, they play in the parks, they play in the streets, that's their game. Here it's not," Hammer said.