Football fans pack the Banter Bar in Williamsburg as the World Cup begins

NEW YORK – Sunday was the opening game of the World Cup, and soccer fans in New York have gone through the roof as the sport continues to gain momentum across the States.

It was a big win for Ecuador on Sunday as the team defeated Qatar 2-0 and the fans at Banter Bar in Williamsburg will definitely not let you forget that.

“I’m pretty excited right now, I’m not going to lie,” said soccer fan Sebastian Brooks. “In case you forgot, Ecuador all day baby! Let’s go baby!”

Banter Bar is known for its devoted base of football fans. They were busy on Sunday, so they even rented the room next door, which was also full.

Bar co-owner Conor Carolyn says they expect things to get even busier when the United States take on Wales on Monday.

“I’m a Liverpool fan so I don’t have hair I want to get that straight but yes football is our love and what we do,” Carolyn told CBS2’s Hannah Kliger.

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Football fans say interest in the sport has grown in recent years.

“It’s contagious. It’s the most popular sport in the world,” said football fan Elliot Kass.

“It seemed like something that played up to a certain age and then stopped. That’s gone now. People…support and keep playing,” Carolyn said.

Many of the fans at Banter Bar don’t just enjoy watching football; they like to play it too. Many of them have been there with their amateur soccer team members and say that it is one of the things they like to do in their free time.

“We’re actually part of a team here, that’s how we all got to know each other,” Brooks said.

“They even have teams for the elderly here in New York. I saw them play,” said Giovanni Angel, FC Thunderbirds captain.

Love for the sport is shared, but many are expressing disappointment at the controversy surrounding the tournament.

This is the first World Cup to be held in the Arab world and the second ever to be held entirely in Asia, but it is being boycotted by several countries over the country’s record on a variety of social issues and claims that the venue was chosen because of corruption.

“This whole World Cup was a sham, shouldn’t have been in Qatar. It was all through corruption,” said Kass.

The bar’s owner says a portion of its proceeds will go to local football leagues.

“Anything we can do to somehow lighten up the corruption,” Carolyn said.

The US team is expected to be one of the youngest at this World Cup and is expected to get a lot of support from the fans here at home.

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