Phenix City, AL (WRBL) – The world’s biggest international soccer tournament kicks off this month. The 2022 World Cup will feature some of the best soccer players from around the globe From generational talents like Argentina’s Lionel Messi, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and from the United States…Christian Pulisic from Hershey, Pennsylvania. While the actual tournament is over 7,000 miles away in Qatar, there’s plenty of excitement here in the Chattahoochee Valley.
“It’s just a different environment and it’s a different atmosphere. So when you have a lot of soccer enthusiasts together, it’s very similar to watching a football game, you know? But it’s it’s like every game, though, is like a national championship,” said Glenwood Boys Soccer Head Coach Eddie Miranda.
The World Cup usually happens in the summer, but due to the dangerously hot temperatures in the Middle East, FIFA moved the tournament to this fall. It’s a change of pace since now the World Cup will be on TV the same season as American football.
“If you if you’re a huge fan of of soccer and football like myself, you know, you can transition from watching World Cup games in the morning to then NFL college, etc., depending on the day. So if you’re if you’re a huge sports fan, you know, you’re you’re in for some sports all day long,” said Miranda.
Now the soccer revolution has also grown in the Chattahoochee Valley from the youth level to the high school level and to a pair of professional teams in Columbus.
“A lot of kids who are totally interested in being a part of, they see, okay, they’re watching the Christian Pulisic. They’re watching the Josh Argent’s. They’re watching the Tyler Adams guys that were super talented, you know? And you’re like, Man, that could be me one day,” said Miranda.
The USA men’s team has had some success in the World Cup, going to the round of 16 in back to back tournaments. The fans have high expectations for this year’s Stars and Stripes.
“There’s so much talent there, you know? And the cool thing is that we’re going to see we’re going to see kids on there that are young, that are that not too many people have probably heard of. So that’s going to be a lot of fun, too, to see those guys grow, too. And the World Cups almost, it’s such a huge stage, a lot of pressure. But that’s that’s where the stars are made, man,” said Miranda.
The United States Men’s National Team first match up will be against Wales on September 21st at 2:00 p.m. Eastern.