Local soccer fans enjoy spotlight of sport

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- World Cup fever is hitting the Lowcountry hard. From watch parties to the Charleston Battery practice field, soccer is in high gear.

Charleston Battery defender John Wilson said the beauty of the game is that it's a sport for everyone.

"Soccer is a sport that just brings people together," said Wilson.

The major crowds at local bars and restaurants show just how together and united fans are in cheering on Team USA. Thursday they take on perennial powerhouse Germany in their third game of the World Cup.

An average of 18.22 million viewers watched the US Team tie Portugal in their World Cup game on Sunday. It was the most-watched soccer match ever on American TV.

"If you really watch the game and watch the finer things, it makes it so exciting when that goal is scored," Wilson said. "It doesn't matter how big or tall you are. It's for everybody -- that is why this sport has flourished across the world and that's why it is flourishing now."

It's also flourishing with some of soccer's youngest but most die-hard fans at Charleston Battery's soccer summer camp. Team USA will have the smallest of eyes watching and learning from them on Thursday.

"They love it and they want to learn more," said Battery soccer summer camp coach Nik Kalisperis. "They are always asking questions, the intention is there, and it's awesome to see the excitement with all the kids."

Excitement that is sweeping the nation and given everyone a reason to believe -- with the national chant of "I believe that we will win" resounding throughout local establishments.

The Men's US National Soccer Team take's on Germany at noon on ESPN.

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