Soccer fans pack Banter Bar in Williamsburg as World Cup gets underway

NEW YORK — Sunday was the opening game for the World Cup, and soccer fans in New York are through the roof as the sport continues to gain momentum in the states.

It was a big win for Ecuador on Sunday as the team beat Qatar 2-0, and fans at Banter Bar in Williamsburg definitely won’t let you forget it.

“I’m pretty hyped right now, I ain’t gonna lie,” soccer fan Sebastian Brooks said. “In case you guys forgot, Ecuador all day, baby! Let’s go, baby!”

Banter Bar is known for its devoted base of soccer fans. Sunday, they were at capacity, so they even rented out the space next door, which was also packed full.

Bar co-owner Conor Carolyn says they’re expecting things to get even busier when the United States is set to match up against Wales on Monday.

“I’m a Liverpool fan, which is why I have no hair, I’d like to get that clear, but yeah, football is our love and it’s what we do,” Carolyn told CBS2’s Hannah Kliger.

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Soccer fans say they’ve seen interest in the sport grow in the last few years.

“It’s infectious. It’s the most popular sport in the world,” soccer fan Elliot Kass said.

“It seemed to be something that was played to a certain age and then stopped. That is gone now. People … continue supporting, playing,” Carolyn said.

Many of the fans at Banter Bar don’t just love to watch soccer; they also love to play it. Many of them were there with their Amateur soccer team members, and they say it’s one of the things they love to do in their free time.

“We’re actually part of a team here, that’s how we all met,” Brooks said.

“They even have teams here in New York that are for the elderly. I’ve seen them play,” said Giovanni Angel, Captain of the FC Thunderbirds.

The love for the sport is shared, but many express disappointment at the controversy surrounding the tournament.

This is the first World Cup to be held in the Arab world and second ever to be held entirely in Asia, but it’s being boycotted by several countries for the country’s record on a variety of social issues and claims that the location was chosen because of corruption .

“This whole World Cup was a sham, shouldn’t have been in Qatar. It was all through corruption,” Kass said.

The bar’s owner says part of their proceeds will be going to local soccer leagues.

“Anything we can do to kind of brighten up the corruption,” Carolyn said.

The US team is expected to be one of the youngest at this World Cup and is expected to get lots of support from fans here at home.

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