JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Fans of the U.S. Men’s National Team were disappointed on Saturday after a 3-1 loss to the Netherlands eliminated the U.S. from the World Cup in the round of 16.
There were a lot of watch parties not only across the country but throughout Jacksonville. On the Southside, there were two watch parties within 200 feet of each other with no shortage of fans filling both.
They were loud and proud early on inside Culhane’s Irish Pub. Full of optimism — at least to start.
“We have a younger team, and they have a lot of firepower. They have a lot of heart. This is a dynamic team,” fan Edwin Arias said.
The U.S. Men’s National Team took on the 8th-ranked Netherlands with a spot in the quarterfinals of the FIFA World Cup on the line.
The U.S. fell short with the second-youngest squad in the tournament losing to the Oranje 3-1.
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Carson Stephens was at a watch party with family and friends to root for the United States.
Stephens said brewing this kind of energy started early.
“I was up at like 6 in the morning, getting all prepped and ready, getting my face painted, getting a shower, getting all of this awesomeness going,” Stephens said.
Basically right next door, the crowd was just as emphatic at the Bottlenose Brewery with the Jacksonville Armada Football Club among the crew.
Nathan Walter is the president and general manager of the football club.
The Under 23 team plays in the National Premier Soccer League — that’s semi-pro competition. The team is in the process of bringing a new stadium to downtown Jacksonville.
“The diversity across soccer in general, it’s just amazing,” Walter said. “To see it here in Jacksonville, and bring it all together as one, we could not ask for anything more.”
Chavella Rochelle enjoyed the atmosphere and the contagious excitement.
“My daughters got me into soccer because I never played soccer in my life. I graduated from the same high school that Tim Howard graduated from, a few years difference,” Rochelle said. “The vibe is so much, so chill, so energetic. Just to have the fans support a team that is going places.”