NewsLocal News / July 2, 2014

USMNT Loses, Indy Party Wins

Sam Klemet
USMNT Loses, Indy Party Wins

Fans left Mass Ave. disappointed after the United States Men's Soccer team lost to Belgium 2-1 in the knockout round of the World Cup.

But, Tuesday, was anything but a disappointment for the city of Indianapolis and the excitement around the game.

Fans started pouring onto Mass Avenue between College and Park around 2 p.m.  By game time at 4 p.m, it was a sea of red, white and blue standing practically shoulder to shoulder lined up to watch on one of the three 9-foot by 12-foot televisions.

The viewing party was hosted by the city of Indianapolis and Indy Eleven, the city's North American Soccer League team.

Stephanie Crow and her daughter Mandy, who is a junior in high school, drove an hour down from Lafayette for the party on Mass Ave.

"We were just interested in USA soccer and wanted to come down and join the crowd," said Stephanie.  "We just thought it'd be fun to join everyone and watch it outside, although it is pretty hot." 

Mandy plays center-mid for McCutcheon High School and says she's always had an interest in soccer, but admits she has become more excited about the sport this year with the success of the USMNT.

"I'm really excited for when the U.S. is going to score.  I can't wait for everyone to cheer really loud," she said before the match.  

Brad Gottschlich is a graduate student at IUPUI who describes himself as a casual soccer fan, but watches whenever the World Cup in on. 

He was in Germany during the World Cup four years ago and says the atmosphere in Indy is headed in that direction.

"Comparatively, this is the right track, but we're not quite there yet," said Gottschlich, who was draped in an American flag.  "I think as far as the World Cup goes, we are probably a little late to the party.  I think all the group stage matches (a watch party) was brought up at least once and every conversation was 'why aren't we doing this, especially downtown, we've got all kinds of venues that can accommodate this many people,'"

"Thankfully the Mayor's office and other folks stepped in and helped make this happen," he added.

Gottschlich watched the match with his friend Matt Jackson, 26.

"The World Cup - I just like the atmosphere," said Jackson.  "It's totally different than normal interleague play and MLS.  It's something different when the countries are going against another country.  It's just awesome."

"I love the sport and am so glad I was able to come here today," he said.

The support for the team was undeniable, but many people came to the watch party just because it was a party, like Amy Hougland, 25.

"I feel like any time you get a bunch of people together, all excited, cheering for the same thing, then it's going to be a fun time," she said.  "That's why I wanted to come out.  There's a big range of age of fans of here."

And Leslie Kessler thinks the set up would work for other events besides the World Cup in Indianapolis.

"Whenever there is a screen outside I feel like it's really fun and you can invite people to come down in there summer, it's great," said Kessler.  "I think they should do this for football games and other sporting events.  Just being outside and having a big screen is such a fun thing and I feel like all over the U.S. they are doing more outdoor viewing parties.  I think it's a great idea."