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July 2, 2014

Soccer fans flood eateries to cheer on favorite teams

NORMAN — World Cup fans gathered Tuesday afternoon for an exciting game and cold mugs of beer while cheering on the red, white and blue.

From O’Connell’s Irish Pub & Grille on Campus Corner to Das Boot Camp on Main Street, eateries around Norman flooded with soccer fans hoping for a victory.

Among the fans at Das Boot Camp was University of Oklahoma psychology student Noel Smalley, who said she’s been following the bigger teams in this year’s string of games, including Mexico and the U.S.

“The first national game I ever watched was between the U.S. and Mexico,” Smalley said. “So I’ve got to show them a little love, too.”

Smalley said it gets harder as the teams dwindle, especially when those teams happen to be her favorites. But local fans continue to find new teams to root for.

Smalley said she previously rooted for Spain, but since they’re out, she went back to her roots.

“It’s been a slow game so far, but an aggressive one, too,” Smalley said Tuesday while watching one of the big screens posted around the restaurant as the U.S. played Belgium.

O’Connell’s owner Jeff Stewart said business has been booming as soccer fans scout out places to watch the game.

Stewart, like many others, is a proud U.S. fan through thick and thin, and said he’s been trying his best to keep up with the games while running the restaurant.

With countless TV’s jutting out of the walls at every angle, Stewart said there’s no question that O’Connell’s is the place for fans, no matter who they are cheering for.

“This is the best place to watch the World Cup,” Stewart said.

Smalley, like other local fans, said she’s hoping her favorites will come out on top.

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