Salt Lake fans don't need drinks to catch Cup buzz

Despite early starts, supporters still unite to take part

Local ordinances forbid alcohol from being served before 10 am, but that doesn’t mean that World Cup fans weren’t buzzing in Salt Lake City last Friday.

Fidler’s Elbow was just one of a slew of area social clubs (translation: bars) that hosted World Cup festivities for the Slovenia-US match, and a slew of fans from a variety of backgrounds flocked to watch one of the best matches in South Africa thus far.

“It’s just the buzz. I just knew there would be so many fans, and it would be way more fun,” said local fan Danielle, who hails from Birmingham, England. “Everyone gets together and shouts, and gets stressed out – that’s football.”

“I have dual citizenship, but when it comes to football, it’s England all the way.”

Many fans have attended several games during the World Cup at similar watch parties.

I’ve been here at Fiddler’s. I was here last Saturday and Sunday at 5:30 am watching games as well,” said Kevin Pierce, a Real Salt Lake supporter.

When asked why he chose to attend the watch party, Pierce said it was self-explanatory.

“Because of the people around. You get a big group of people that want to come out here and cheer on the team and have a good time and get into the game,” he said. “Everyone here was really into it jumping up and down - you can’t get that at home.”

Others are less fanatic about the sport, but the World Cup brings an excitement that is hard to miss. That’s exactly the case for Jon Olson.

“I’m a soccer fan – not crazy – but I enjoy it. This is the best time - World Cup soccer - it’s amazing to watch these athletes,” Olson said.

Olson was the victim of an unsolicited hug from a stranger after the US scored the dramatic equalizer, and that’s exactly why he likes the watch party atmosphere.

“As you saw after that second goal it’s just great to be with fans that enjoy the same thing,” Olson said. “You can celebrate together.”