Local Excitement for the World Cup

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By Fanna Haile-Selassie
By Jared Roberts

MARION -- One of the largest worldwide sporting events kicked off Thursday afternoon. Thirty-two soccer teams have descended on Brazil for the 2014 World Cup. Millions of viewers are keeping a close eye on their team, including young soccer players in southern Illinois.

News 3 caught up with kids at Marion High School's first-ever soccer camp. So far, every kid has their eye on their favorite team and star player. John Bruce says he's rooting for Argentina.

"Because they've got the best player in the world on their team, Lionel Messi," says Bruce.

His sister, Margaux, is rooting for her home country, ""Well, I do want USA to win because I live in USA."

And fourth grader Chase Banks is cheering for Wayne Rooney from England.

As the kids practice their dribbling and passing, high school coach Jared Dobbs says all they talk about is the World Cup.

"Every time the World Cup comes around that anticipation and that energy level definitely amps up. So I definitely see it with the kids," he explains.

"I'm going for Spain and maybe Argentina, but mostly Spain. 'Cause they've got it," says 11th grader Hannah Palmer. "They're good with the footwork, they're good with passing."

Palmer says soccer is a way of life for her and her family. But the sport is still developing fans in the U.S., and she is excited to see it growing in Marion.

"There's a lot of good coaches around here. There's a lot of camps coming up, people just getting together. I know high school kids will just send out text messages, and they get together and just pick up games."

And if these kids have anything to say about it, soccer will only keep growing in the region. 

The United States plays its first game Monday against Ghana. The other countries in USA's bracket are Germany and Portugal, both power houses. The World Cup wraps up on July 13.

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