New Soccer Fans Emerge in Wayne Hills


student stands in front of world cup showing

By Alyssa Tomporowski, Staff Writer

Is there an increase in new World Cup fans at Wayne Hills?

The World Cup is a long-time-running international tournament that has been around since 1930. There are many soccer fans who have been watching the games for their entire lives. However, many people became soccer fans and started watching the World Cup this year because of just a few players. The explosive popularity of Neymar Jr., Jude Bellingham, Joao Felix, and many others on Tiktok has made even more soccer fans this World Cup than ever before. How do long-time soccer fans feel about this, and are new fans enjoying the sport for more than just the looks of players?

Marcus Nieves, a sophomore student at Wayne Hills, said he is not a soccer fan but has been watching the World Cup with his family for many years. “Yes, I watch the World Cup, I’m not crazy about it but I do like it. I’d say I want the US to win, however, I am very sad that Italy never made it to the world cup.”

This mindset might be the same for many other people watching the World Cup. They might not be “soccer fans” but they have a connection to the games because they watched them with their family. Nieves continued to speak about seeing new fans only watching games with players that they knew of, watching games with Brazil for Neymar and Argentina for Messi.

“Personally, I think people should root for the team that they like. You shouldn’t want a team to win based on the players’ looks, it should be about skill. The same thing goes for new viewers who watch the world cup just because of one person, it is a highly team-based game,” he said.

Teachers at Wayne Hills may have the best opinions on this newfound love of soccer, having watched many more World Cups than students.

The media specialist at Wayne Hills, Mrs. Caldwell, is a long-time soccer fan with an impressive knowledge of soccer. “I’ve been watching soccer my whole life, I played until I was in my late twenties. I went to national championships and two final fours in addition to that. I played at a high level and soccer has been a big part of my life since I was little. My high school team was ranked the highest in the country, we broke every record.”

Mrs. Caldwell has even been playing the World Cup in the library for soccer fans at school.

“It’s my first year showing it in the library, mainly because I wasn’t here for the last World Cup. We’re getting a lot of people coming in during study hall to watch it and it’s very popular at lunch. Argentina is one of the favorites, also Germany, France, and the US. I’m personally hoping that England or the US wins,” she said.

Caldwell hasn’t heard of the new fans watching for specific players; she has however seen more popularity because of the US Women’s team winning the World Cup in 2019.

“The World Cup has gained a lot of traction this year, the US men’s team hasn’t been in the World Cup in 8 years and I feel like the team has gotten a lot better in the last few years, people like rooting for a team that has a chance to win. There are a lot of new fans this year, and the success of the US women’s team has increased fans watching the men’s games. You’re seeing more kids playing soccer because of the success of the women’s team.”

Wayne Hills is helping students find something that they love by showing the cup in the library. Many have begun to learn about the teams and the game, which they may not have done before. Hopefully, something similar can happen to the students at Hills during the next World Cup as well.