9:42 a.m. [sketch location]
Alex Eckardt watched the Germany vs. Argentina quarterfinals of the 2006 World Cup in Berlin. But instead of being at the stadium, he celebrated his team’s victory next to 750,000 other soccer fans on the “fan mile,” one of the many outdoor venues set up around the country where thousands of people gathered to watch the games. “It was a whole mile of fans with seven big screens,” said Eckardt, 36, who has lived in Northwest Seattle since 1998 and in the Phinney neighborhood for the past four years.
Inspired by these soccer “fan fests,” Eckardt has organized what’s probably the largest public viewing of World Cup games in Seattle open to all ages. At 6.30 a.m. Friday, Phinney Neighborhood Center will open its doors to soccer fans coming to watch the inaugural World Cup match between host South Africa and Mexico.
Throughout the tournament, which ends July 11, another 44 games will be shown here live in high-definition on a big screen worthy of the fan fests Eckardt attended in 2006. “It will be a cinematic experience,” he said. The community hall, which used to be a cafeteria when the building was a school decades ago, will hold about 150 people, with seats for about 100.
The biggest advantage over watching the games at a pub is that you can bring your children, he said. “We’re expecting young soccer players to come with their coaches and with their parents,” said Eckardt, who has fond memories of watching games with his dad when he was growing up in the Stuttgart area.
Having been raised in soccer-crazy Spain, I share just about the same World Cup memories as Eckardt and I’m as excited as he is about the tournament. Since leaving Barcelona 12 years ago, my chances of supporting the winning team have also increased as I’ll be rooting for the U.S., not just Spain, to win.
More information about the event and games schedule at www.pnaworldcup.org.
June 9, 2010 at 4:30 PM