Queen City swept up in World Cup excitement - | WBTV Charlotte

Queen City swept up in World Cup excitement


As World Cup fever gets in full swing across the country, bars in Charlotte are cashing in on the excitement.

Restaurants and bars are attracting more patrons during the day and some workers are bypassing the office to take in the soccer matches.

That is the case at Hooligan's, which is perhaps Charlotte's best known soccer bar. When Mark Krehbiel opened it in the Latta Arcade five years ago, people thought he was crazy, but in 2014 this long shot bet is reaping dividends.

"And now we have to turn people away, after 25 hundred guests came in to watch the USA play Ghana on a Monday night at 6 p.m.," Krehbiel said.

Fans were ecstatic the night before in the Hoolligan's parking lot, after America's team beat Ghana. But, this isn't the only place cashing in this World Cup Frenzy.

Cash registers are singing a sweet song at Premier Soccer in Ballantyne, where Team USA jerseys are down to a scant few.

Devotion is easy to come by here Claudia Coello made the trek all the way from Hickory to find a jersey with the country of Brazil. She says these games are can bring national pride.

"It really does. You have passion for it."

The store's assistant manager Jose' Renedros feels a run on soccer supplies points to the reality that Charlotte has a changing sports appetite.

"Especially at a young age and you see all of these little children, and they're developing the sport," Renedros said."That's pretty cool."

On the city's eastside, a hookah is advertising the games, and back at Hooligan's Mark Krehbiel feels that sports can bridge the great cultural divide.

He said, "Possibly in here you will here four or five different languages spoken during the course of a single game."

The next appearance for Team USA comes on Sunday Night against Portugal. Bar owners at Latta Arcade say if fans want a seat, it's best to show up early.​ 

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