Minnesota fans root USA's success at the World Cupby Tom Crann, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — It's just after 9 a.m. at the Nomad World Pub, which bills itself as the city's Premier Soccer Pub. And by the time I arrive, the long narrow bar is packed from wall to wall.
The England-Slovenia match is showing on one TV, but it's getting no attention. This crowd is here for one reason.
"USA! USA! USA!" they chant. The U.S. match is the main draw.
The bar may be packed, but it's also surprisingly quiet. A lot of these folks are serious fans.
Soccer is also the focus at the Sagal cafe, just up Cedar Avenue from the Nomad, but it's a whole different atmosphere. The handful of long tables are full of African men, their upturned faces glued to the only screen in the room. From the street it looks like a classroom, with a unbelievably fascinating teacher.
I feel like I'm intruding on something serious when I walk in.
There's one guy here rooting for Algeria, but he is seriously outnumbered. At the Sagal Cafe, it's also all about Team USA.
There's one more stop on our World Cup tour: the Maan shaa Allah African and Mediterraean cafe is smaller, darker and even more hushed. There's only 20 minutes left in this match.
Siad Ahmed is as big a soccer fan as you'll find. The Somali native is a student and taxi driver.
"I'm a big fan for USA, my friend," he says. "And I hope that we're going to win. But I'm a little bit disappointed because England has one goal."
Ahmed's rooting for the American team, and he's frustrated they haven't scored a goal yet.
But he has a prediction.
"There should be a goal here," he says. "At the 82nd minute."
There's no goal at 82 minutes, or up to 90 minutes for that matter. But, the ref adds 4 more minutes of stoppage time. The guys here get psyched, and then, at 91 minutes... screaming.
Now maybe it's the language difference. Or maybe it's just the brotherhood of some guys enjoying a big win in the game they grew up with, by the team in their adopted homeland, but I'm afraid we can't let you hear their entire reaction due to the profanity, but I can tell you they meant it in the best possible way.
Said tells me he's missing a shift's worth of taxi fares this morning, but it's worth it.
"So happy," he says. "That's... that's... yes we can!"
- All Things Considered, 06/23/2010, 5:18 p.m.