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Should the World Cup Come to New England?

Monday, July 05, 2010

 

The World Cup has attracted over a billion viewers worldwide and drawn hundreds of thousands of soccer fans to South Africa—and now, Rhode Island could get a piece of the action.

U.S. Senator Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island, wants the games to come to the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass in either 2018 or 2022. If the World Cup is held there, Reed says Rhode Island stands to gain a lot from the boost in tourism it would bring to the region.

“Soccer is growing in the U.S. and a lot of Rhode Islanders are passionate about the game,” Reed said. “It would be great to bring the World Cup back here and give folks a chance to experience it live.”

Fans Want World Cup in New England

His proposal found plenty of support from fans who were watching the quarterfinals game between Argentina and Germany Saturday at the Spats Restaurant and Bar in Providence.

“That would be great because the American team is getting better and there is more interest,” said David Dukcevich, a food products salesman who lives in Providence. “To have them in the backyard and cheer them would be ridiculous. It would be the best.”  

Dukcevich said the location makes sense because there are so many Rhode Islanders who can trace their ancestry to Portugal and Italy. “So it’s kind of like already a natural destination,” he said.

Several international students who caught the game at Spats also liked the idea.

“Yeah, it would be an exciting idea. It would promote soccer in the United States,” said Florian Sprung, a mathematics graduate student at Brown University who is from Germany. “They would stand a fighting chance of winning because of home advantage.”

Caught up in the euphoria of the win, another student from Germany at first didn’t seem to care about where the games were held. “As long as Germany wins, I don’t care where the World Cup is,” said Alice Berresheim, who is studying architecture at Roger Williams University.

But, on second thought, she endorsed the idea. “I think it would be good for everyone,” she said.

How to Help Make It Happen

The last time the World Cup was in the United States, in 1994, it brought out a record 3.5 million people to watch the games, with an average match attendance of nearly 69,000 people.

Reed is one of 26 U.S. Senators who has signed a letter to the president of FIFA World Cup, the organization which holds the games. Rhode Islanders who want to support the U.S. bid to host the games can visit www.gousabid.com and sign the online petition.

So far, 779,000 people have signed it.

Dukcevich, for one, said he will be one of them.

 

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