World Cup: Fans cheer on Team USA at Chicago watch parties

Chicago soccer fans gathered by the thousands Monday to watch the United States in its World Cup debut against Wales.

There were watch parties all over the Chicago area, and even though the game ended in a tie, fans say it’s a win just to see the United States back on the world soccer stage.

"I’m just really happy because this is my first experience watching them play to win the first game," said one young boy who joined about 200 soccer fanatics filling the Fire Pitch, a bar and restaurant that serves as the north side outpost for the Chicago Fire soccer club.


And when the United States scored its first goal to take the lead the crowd jumped to its feet and roared.

"This is everything man, everything," said soccer fan James Bachmann. "After missing the last cycle, coming back, seeing the kids do this. It’s right here, baby, right here."

Indeed, this is the US team’s first appearance in the World Cup in eight years, after failing to make the cut in 2018.


And because soccer is an international sport, the Fire Pitch is featuring a special international menu during the World Cup.

"So for this tournament, we have some special world beers, world food," said the Chicago Fire’s Paul Cadwell. "Some signed items that everyone can win from the Chicago Fire. We are really trying to create a family place where you can bring your sons and daughters to enjoy this beautiful game."

But a not-so beautiful penalty led to the tying goal being scored by Wales, and left fans a bit frustrated.

"We ended tied one-one. We are better than Wales," lamented one fan. "We should have gotten three points today. Three points would have put us in a good spot."

"I mean everybody in the bar knows we should have gotten the win, but that’s OK," said another fan. "A draw here, so we still control our own destiny."

There will be another watch party hosted by the Fire this Friday when the United States plays England at the Navy Pier Ballroom. Hundreds of people are expected to attend that event.