World Cup And Soccer Fever Impact The Miami Valley

Jun 26, 2014

Ohio kids playing soccer in 2012.
Ohio kids playing soccer in 2012.
Credit Wrightbrosfan / Flickr/Creative Commons

This year's World Cup is being played in Brazil, which spent $14 billion to prepare for the month-long tournament. Meanwhile, the  financial and cultural impact of soccer is growing around the Miami Valley.

Soccer is viewed as the “people’s game” outside of United States, according to Steve Dawson, head of men's soccer at Wittenberg University.

"It's almost a religion. They follow these teams all over the country, even outside of the country, especially in European competition and there is a fanaticism that you don't really see in America and these fans follow these teams year around almost," Dawson said.

But there's soccer fever in the Dayton area, too. The World Cup has been a windfall for area restaurants and bars, and this week, Beavercreek hosted the 2014 US Soccer Region II Championships.

Kathleen Young of the Greene County Convention and Visitors Bureau says more than 200 boys' and girls' teams from 14 states invaded the Miami Valley and helped pump $7.5 million into the local economy.

"It just came together like clockwork. All of the restaurants were just inundated with folks," Young said. "It was really a nice tournament. Hopefully we will get them back here one day."

World Cup fever in the United States will grow today, as the the U.S. team vie against Germany to advance in the tournament.