The Full 90

Make no mistake: This is a soccer town

There has been plenty written and said in the wake of the World Cup, but I’d like to add one more thought.

Kansas City is a soccer town.

That’s what I learned after crisscrossing the area for watch parties. People gathered in every part of Kansas City at all times of the day to watch the games from South Africa. It was absolutely cool to eat crossaints with the French faithful and chow down on a pupusas while 50 or so Honduran fans gathered for a late lunch and a little soccer.

I watched with Italians, Chileans, Spanairds, Mexicans and Brazilians, who brought their drums to celebrate their team’s victory (yes, it was before the quarterfinals).

And, of course, there were the 10,000 or so American fans crammed into the Living Room at Power & Light District for the contest against Ghana. But I was also at the Power & Light when a handful of fans came at 6:30 a.m. to watch New Zealand and Slovakia.

That’s the kind of game most of us skipped or let the DVR record to watch at a more reasonable hour. But people just like watching soccer.

There are soccer fans of all stripes around our fair city. Many of them are also Wizards season ticket holders, but some were not. There are those only follow college hoops while others prefer the NBA, they are all basketball fans. Ditto for soccer in this town.

And there is more soccer on tap. Wizards president Robb Heineman said that nearly 60,000 tickets have been sold for the Wizards’ exhibition game against Manchester United on July 25 at Arrowhead Stadium, so fans around here will get an idea of what it’s like to be at a packed Arrowhead Stadium for a soccer game.

It should be crazy fun.

And it will help solidify Kansas City as a soccer town.

Because that is what it is and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

| Pete Grathoff, pgrathoff@kcstar.com

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