Locals Celebrate World Cup Season

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BAY COUNTY-- Tonight's World Cup match against Portugal didn't end with a win.

Many fans still gathered to cheer for the USA at World Cup viewing parties, and there's enough spirit to go around.

There's screams of excitement and shouts of disappointment.

They can happen with a matter of seconds while watching the World Cup

"Everybody turns into a soccer fan every four years," Ryan Crawford, the bar manager at TGI Friday's, said.

While many people watch from home, hundreds of people gathered at parties like the ones at Panama City's TGI Friday's and with the team's most intense supporters, the American Outlaws, at Fishale's.

Whether or not you follow soccer, you have to become a fan at one of these viewing parties. The energy is just contagious.

"This building shook," Chris Pfahl, an American Outlaws member, said. "There's no other way I can put it. When the US scored a goal we went absolutely through the roof."

World Cup season is an opportunity for people to unite.

"You gotta get behind your nation. It's more about national pride that it is about being a big fan of the sport," Panama City resident Cory Kight said.

Some fans say it makes for a better experience to cheer on your team in a crowd, even if they're strangers.

"It's not just about the world cup," Pfahl said. "It's a bunch of guys and gals who love soccer, and it's a growing sport in the United States. And you can see by the results here in Panama City there are a lot of those people."

"We're gonna continue it this year until we come home, so if we move on to the Round of 16 we'll have another one," Crawford said.

Both groups are ready to see their team face Germany on Thursday.


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