The other day I was in Manuel’s Tavern, the iconic Atlanta bar best known for hosting election night watch parties. The staff discussed last week’s U.S. versus Germany game, and the unexpected throngs who showed up to watch. “None of us really know soccer,” said owner Brian Maloof. “But obviously people loved it.”
One bartender said, “It was wild, everyone stayed afterward, too. They were were in great mood.”
“Why?” asked another. “Did the U.S. win?”
“No, they lost. But somehow we’re moving on. I don’t understand how that works. But everyone was happy.”
The majority of U.S. sports fans still don’t understand the offsides rule, let alone the scoring vagaries of the World Cup tournament. But that hasn’t stopped World Cup fever—of the bandwagon variety, anyway—from spreading.
Even City Hall is infected. The mayor’s office announced that Kasim Reed will be hosting a World Cup viewing party tomorrow afternoon as the U.S. takes on Belgium. The event will be at Greystone in Piedmont Park. Admission is free. (There will be a cash bar.)
Of course, the mayor has several reasons to get excited about soccer. Not only is Atlanta prepping for a Major League Soccer franchise to debut in 2017, but as a new dad, Hizzoner is likely to sit through more than a few soccer matches in the future.