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World Cup Fever Hits The QCA

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All the way from Brazil, World Cup fever hit the Quad Cities Area again Sunday, with the US tying Portugal 2-2. Dozens of people gathered to watch the game together. On a normal Sunday night, there are usually plenty of tables open at Boonie's in Muscatine. This Sunday, they were all reserved in advance, and it was packed with even more people standing from corner to corner, ready to watch the US play after last Monday's win.

A small, but symbolic parade launched the festivities. Fans headed down the street toward the bar, which was filled with people who want the world to know that the QCA supports team USA. Families, friends, soccer players, and coaches were all there, along with plenty of American flags.

The US isn't exactly known for winning international soccer tournaments. After defeating Ghana by a point last week, many people in Muscatine felt optimistic that the US would win again.

"We've got a great opportunity here to win the game," said Bill Reimers, a US fan.

However, just five minutes into the game, Portugal got the first goal.

"We just got scored on, not good," Reimers said. "There's plenty of time left."

In the end, it was a draw, but some say it's the event itself that counts.

"Atmosphere is great," said Daniel Nietzel, who carried an American flag for most of the night. "That's why we come down here. We could watch this in our living rooms, but it's a lot more fun to share it with everybody. That's what it's about."

With the amount of people at the sports bar, staff say the night was a win.

"Oh yeah, it's been great," said the owner, who is known as "Boonie." "Never dreamed it would be this good."

Bars will likely be packed again on Thursday, when the US plays Germany. If they draw, both teams will advance.

Meanwhile, soccer fever seems to have hit the younger generation as well. Many kids played in the annual Muscatine Summer Classic tournament this and last weekend. More than 100 teams competed in almost 200 games, with players ages eight to 18. Many watched Sunday's World Cup game together.

Coaches say soccer has become more popular across the country and locally over the past few years. They say more eyes are on the sport during the World Cup.

"I'm hoping that they go far because it promotes the sport of soccer," said trainer Tom Roe of the Muscatine Soccer Club. "It helps us, and it's obviously helped the growth of the Muscatine soccer club over the last couple of years. We've had more and more kids joining up."

He says he anticipates around 20 more children to enroll in the fall, especially if the US advances even further.

"It's kind of cool to watch them, like their stories and stuff," said Natalie Lingle, a soccer player. "Yeah, it's kind of inspiring."

The Muscatine soccer club welcomes anybody from the Muscatine County area who wants to play.

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