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Locals flock to bars for World Cup

BY TING XUAN TAN | JUNE 17, 2014 5:00 AM

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They walked in decked in red, white, and blue.

Men and women made their way into local bars in their official World Cup soccer jerseys. Some carried USA-inspired scarves, and others had their faces painted.

All of the patrons were pumped up for Team USA’s match to start.

They were not the only ones excited for the world cup matches to begin.

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With soccer fans headed to local bars and restaurants to catch the World Cup matches, bar and restaurant owners welcomed the patrons into their establishments, anticipating an increase in business.

And that’s exactly what they saw.

“The World Cup definitely has had an impact on the restaurant business,” said Leah Hensley, the manager at the Airliner. “[Sunday] for the Argentina game, we actually had a big crowd, which was nice because the 3 o’clock crowd is usually pretty slow.”

In the last two World Cups, Ghana won both matchups against USA. This year, the United States won, 2-1. The U.S. will face Portugal at 5 p.m. June 22.

When crowds of spectators walked in drenched after a thunderstorm, they were welcomed by cheers and whoops from the other fans. Excitement built when the numerous screens showed Team USA running onto the field for the warm-ups.

“Iowa City has a good number of soccer fans here, and they’re excited to see their team compete at the world level, and we’re full up,” said Patrick Grim, the general manager of DC’s. “If it wasn’t raining so hard, I’m pretty sure more people would be here, but it’s going to be busy as the night goes on.”            

Besides the increased number of customers, the World Cup matches bring in a fun crowd, which makes the job interesting for the staff at Donnelly’s Pub, said Stacey Donahue, the general manager.

“They’re loving it,” she said. “It’s not even giving them more hours, but it’s the quality of the hours that they’re getting and the quality of the money that they’re making, too.” 

The World Cup matches bring in people who may not regularly go there, she said, because they want to be around the soccer atmosphere.

Donnelly’s reached about two to three times as many customers at the pub to watch the games on days with World Cup matches.

Although the capacity of the pub is 47 people, during the game, patrons were everywhere, including standing in the booths, right up at the door, cheering for their team.

During most of the game, Ghana held more possessions and when Andre Ayew scored the equalizer for Ghana in the 82nd minute, tension ran high. Team USA answered just four minutes later with John Brooks scoring the match winner on a set piece. The fans erupted with joy, with hugs going all around.

“One of the biggest strengths of this team is set pieces,” said Chris Copeland, an American Outlaw Iowa City Chapter member. “Whenever you have a free kick or a corner kick, we do an excellent job with them. We are very well disciplined with these set pieces and a good ball in, who knows what will happen, and that’s how we scored that goal.”


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