“Soccer is not as big as it is in other countries in the world, but this World Cup is starting to put us on the map," said one fan, Dean Wollace of Stamford.
It's been four years since World Cup soccer last took to the international stage, and this year, the USA is making its mark, and not just with its playing. For the 2014 FIFA World Cup, fans across the nation are more excited than ever.
"It's just one of those things where everyone comes in on their two hour lunch break that everyone gets, and we just get slammed," said Erik Zeiss of McFadden's.
It might seem like your average Thursday, but step inside this Stamford sports bar and the lunch hour is a little busier and a little longer than usual.
"Our office is right upstairs and if we are going to hear cheering we want to be apart of it," said one fan.
More than a hundred fans gather at this bar, watching and cheering as the USA competed against Germany in the final game of the group stage. The USA ended up losing, but on a bright note, finished second in its group. And that means, for the third time in US history, the team will advance to the next round.
"It's been a very interesting World Cup this year," said one fan.
This World Cup is becoming the most watched soccer event ever here in the US. ESPN reports that Sunday’s match between the US and Portugal was the highest-rated soccer match of all time, as well as the most viewed sports program in its network history, aside from (American) football of course.
So , what’s changed?
"A lot of people 30 or younger, grew up playing soccer. And's that playing a huge role in this," said a fan.
And he has a point. Research does show a big spike in youth soccer participation. In the 1970's, the U.S. Youth Soccer organization lists around 100 thousand players registered across the country, and today the organization lists more than 3 million.
And with today’s sweet surprise, soccer fever isn’t going anywhere. The USA is scheduled to play Belgium on Tuesday July 1st.