Austin soccer fans excited for this year's World Cup
Ramon Diaz drove 15 miles on his lunch break to watch the World Cup opener, yet something was still missing.
"Definitely frustrating we can't watch the U.S. I think we've made a lot of progress over the years," he said.
For the first time since 1986, the World Cup begins without Team USA -- but that didn't deter the "MLS2ATX" organization from throwing a watch party at Austin City Hall.
"Everybody has a story especially when it relates to soccer. It's an international sport, and that's what we love to do -- create a community of international supporters as well as Austin supporters," Diaz said.
With the U.S., Canada and Mexico winning a joint bid to host the 2026 World Cup, and with MLS to Austin still in the works, this year's World Cup presents another opportunity to show why soccer can stick in Austin.
"The soccer presence is here in Austin. We've got a great community for it… it's the World Cup, an international platform to just kind of reinstate that MLS and Austin are perfect for each other and that Austin loves soccer," said Kelan Robinson, community engagement specialist for MLS2ATX.
Local hangouts, like the Native Hostel on 4th Street, are embracing the month of soccer as well. Root for a country with a 5 a.m. game? No problem, stay and wake up to your favorite team at a discounted rate.
"We've been reaching out to folks all over the globe to come travel and stay here as well locals to do the same. And we thought what's better than having the World Cup here as well," said Chris Scull, programs and events manager for Native Hostels.
While there won't be any "I believe that we will win" chants or "USA" chants, American soccer fans are ready to do their part for the sport they love.