Philly cheers for foreign World Cup teams

Bartender Cormac O'Shean pours a stout at Tir Na Nog in Center City ahead of Thursday's World Cup games. Credit: Charles Mostoller.
Bartender Cormac O’Shean pours a stout at Tir Na Nog in Center City ahead of Thursday’s World Cup games. Credit: Charles Mostoller.

Doug Hager and his wife, who had moved back to Germany in 2004, left two years later, a couple months before the 2006 World Cup kicked off.

“We were working in the service industry,” said Hager, who was born in Germany but who grew up in Philadelphia. “And it was going to be a nightmare. You know, there’s not a huge tipping culture over there.”

Hager, who owns Brauhaus Schmitz, is a passionate soccer fan and surrounds himself with Germany supporters. So in a country where soccer is a distance fifth on the popularity scale, does any supporters of foreign teams catch any flack cheering for any team but the US in Philadelphia?

He didn’t think so.

“I just think, the Americans aren’t expecting a whole heck of a lot,” he said. “Most of us will be pulling for Germany, but we’ll have plenty of people here cheering for the US.

Raymond Vlug, a Holland native and Brauhaus employee, said he felt the US is pretty laid back when it comes to the World Cup.

“I find it comical before I had been to my first Eagles game a lot of folks said you don’t want to sit in the nose bleeds,” he said. “I said, ‘man, you have not gone to a European soccer game.’”

Greg Hutelmyer and Julian Brown, both members of the Philadelphia Union support group the Sons of Ben, also participate in the Philadelphia chapter of The American Outlaws, which supports the USA national team.

The duo said while the sport lags behind the big four, they see the sport’s popularity rising.

“It’s definitely on the climb,” Hutelmyer said. “Where you just see more and more people just getting to love the game and support the team.”

The group will watch the games at Fado Irish Pub with groups of Brazilians and European fans and while they honor their heritage their allegiance lies with their birthright.

Hutelmyer is German and Irish and Brown is Greek, “But when it comes down to it we were born here and we support the US team first and primarily,” Hutelmyer said.

The venues

The top bars known for its World Cup extravaganzas:

  • Brauhaus Schmitz: 718 South St. in Bella Vista
  • Fado: 1500 Locust St. in Center City
  • Tir Na Nog: 1600 Arch St. in Center City
  • The Irish Times: 629 South Second St. in Queen Village


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