The term “Vai dar tudo certo” is used by Brazilian locals to mean “It’ll all work out.” This is what USA fan Oscar Choi used to describe the upcoming challenges that face the U.S. MNT as the players head into their Round of 16 game against Belgium.
Choi is not alone.
More than 1,500 fans supporting the USA gathered together at Fan HQ in Salvador with one familiar thought in mind: “I believe that we will win.” With the event RSVP list maxing out in less than two hours, excited fans arrived early to the event sporting red, blue and white.
Many fans bought tickets to the Round of 16 match in hopes that the USA would advance out of the “Group of Death” and play at the Arena Fonte Nova on July 1.
Familiar cheers, hollers and chants could be easily heard over the booming sound of the speakers. A giant banner that read “Uma Nacão. Uma Equipe.” encompassed the idea of national unity with a Brazilian culture splash. Fans took turns posing next to the sign, with their family, friends or strangers who they had just met but shared a connection with through the USMNT.
With the success of fan parties in Natal, Manaus and Recife, this event was hastily put into works when the news of USA’s advancement was finalized. With uncertainty being a key factor when purchasing tickets for matches after the group stage of the tournament, many USA fans optimism was repaid by the success of this young American team.
Most individuals bought tickets before the start of the tournament, gambling that their team of choice would make it through the group stage. Chelsea Glavin was one of the lucky fans.
The 29 year old from Vancouver, Washington, mapped out her entire trip of teams and cities they would play in and booked her plane tickets after. She attended the England- Uruguay, England-Costa Rica, USA-Germany and Costa Rica- Greece matches.
“My parents are from England, and obviously, I’m American so I looked up where England would be playing and where the U.S. would be playing and mapped it out from there,” Glavin said. “Everything else I just guessed and did off of tourist information of what the best cities would be and then I just got really lucky with tickets.”
Glavin plans on going to a quarterfinal match as well as the final in Rio de Janeiro. She was excited to see the U.S. advance and would love to see the team make it to the quarterfinals.
“It’s a huge deal that we made it to the Round of 16. Even though we lost the last game, it was like we still won because it’s creating history in the U.S. for this sport and progressing it through to an even high level; now we will gain more popularity; more fans.”
A few of these fans will be in attendance for the USA game. However, this could easily be coined as a mere coincidence because most purchased their tickets during the FIFA lottery. Tom Pellet from San Francisco was given advice by South Africa World Cup fans who told him to go into the lottery for the Round of 16 and quarterfinal games.
“We actually had these tickets before we found out it was a U.S. game. We lucked out. We have, what may be, their second game in Brasilia,” Pellet said. “We got in the lottery months ago, and we got a quarterfinal game and a Round of 16 game and these happened to be the two.”
Some fans made spontaneous trips to Salvador for the sole purpose of seeing their team play. Trey Porter from San Antonio, Texas, decided last minute after the U.S. MNT advanced that he would buy a ticket to see the team play at Arena Fonte Nova.
“I just did everything I could. I got here four hours ago, got tickets three hours ago, so yeah I’m thrilled,” Porter said. “I just got lucky at the last minute because I wasn’t going to come to the World Cup and not get to see them play.”
Like many fans, Porter believes this World Cup is a huge step forward for the growth of soccer in America. He already purchased a plane ticket to Brasilia in hopes that he will be able to follow the team there.
Hope was in the air, as many fans had their Arena Fonte Nova tickets previously purchased with the confidence that the U.S. MNT would advance to that location. Anyan Owens planned his trip to attend the USA vs. Germany game and the Round of 16 match. He plans on making an effort to follow the team as long as they advance in the tournament.
“It’s absolutely huge. This is two World Cup’s in a row,” he said. “I think this idea with the deep run, with the time-zones, great media coverage, high definition everywhere, everything is just set up that this is going to catapult soccer everywhere to a place that it hasn’t been in the States, which is where people will care about it.”
By taking one look at the hundreds of fans at the event, this is an easy conclusion. USA supporters present at FanHQ freely share a firm belief that the team has proven itself and will appear once again on the 2014 World Cup stage.
Oscar Cantu, 29, of San Francisco, is another fortunate American soccer fan who is impressed and optimistic about the future of the 2014 U.S. squad and is prepared to follow them around the country if they continue in the tournament.
“I knew that there was a good chance they would be here. If they make it to the next match — even though I’m scheduled to be in Rio — I’ll go to Brasilia to watch them,” Cantu said. “I think it’s amazing. I think that despite what any American will tell you, I don’t think anyone really thought they’d get out of the “Group of Death”. To see them get out with such class shows that there is something to be said about U.S. Soccer and what we are today.”