Park City celebrates start of World Cup with a good cause
Park City High School’s soccer programs raise money through World Cup gatherings
Around noon on Monday, there was a feeling of tenseness and nervous excitement reverberating around Collie’s Sports Bar and Grill. Patrons filled its bar and attached dining room, and all eyes were focused on the many screens throughout the restaurant.
The United States men’s national soccer team kicked off its journey at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar with its opening group-stage match against Wales on Monday, and Park City’s soccer community gathered to watch the match – with a good cause in mind.
Park City High School’s boys and girls soccer teams are using the World Cup as an opportunity to raise funds for the program. At the front of the restaurant was a drop box and a Venmo QR code for donations, with a $5 donation recommended.
“I’m excited about the fact that a bunch of people showed up today – some kids coming after school, some parents from the high school, some parents from the local soccer club,” said Anthony DiCicco, who coaches both soccer teams at the high school. “Nice community gathering, and fun to watch the game as a soccer community in town.”
Monday’s gathering was the first of many at Collie’s. Similar events are planned for the United States’ matches against England on Friday and Iran on Tuesday, as well as Argentina-Mexico on Saturday, Spain-Germany on Sunday and Mexico-Saudi Arabia/Poland-Argentina on Nov. 30. All ages are welcome. For more details, email email@example.com.
DiCicco said the funds raised during the World Cup will go toward general program upkeep, like new goals for the boys soccer team at Dozier Field for the spring season.
“The ones we’ve had are almost a decade old, so that’s probably a couple years overdue,” DiCicco said. “That’s a fairly big-ticket item that we’re fundraising for. And then, you know, the upkeep of the program and continuing to upgrade what we’re doing on both the boys’ and the girls’ side.”
Collie’s was full of cheer when the United States’ Tim Weah opened the scoring late in the first half to put the Americans up 1-0. The U.S. couldn’t hang on in the end, as Gareth Bale scored a late equalizer on a penalty kick, and the match ended in a 1-1 draw. Still, it goes to show how important soccer is to the Park City community to see so many people gathered together to watch a match on a Monday in the middle of the day during the opening stages of ski season. With the Americans’ next match against England on Black Friday and people off from work or school, DiCicco is hoping for a bigger crowd.
“I don’t think there’s any mystery behind it,” DiCicco said. “We’re a soccer town. We’re not as big a town as some of the other places that are soccer hotbeds in the state. But there’s no question that, as the high-school program on both the boys’ and the girls’ side continues to grow, as we see the local soccer club continue to grow, as we see more and more people showing up for a day like today, people in this town appreciate and respect sport. And that means that they appreciate and respect and love soccer.”
The United States men’s national team is making its first appearance at the World Cup in eight years after missing out in 2018, meaning Park City High School’s boys soccer players were just young kids the last time the U.S. played on the world’s biggest stage. With the return of the U.S. come opportunities to dream for Park City’s soccer players. DiCicco pointed to American starting goalkeeper Matt Turner’s journey as a reason to dare to dream.
“He wasn’t really playing consistently as a soccer player and as a goalkeeper until he was a teenager, played 45 minutes in his first couple years as a collegiate player, goes undrafted, plays in the lower divisions, makes his way through MLS,” DiCicco said. “He’s now playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world in Arsenal and just played his first men’s World Cup match and by the way comes up with that tremendous save in the second half in the process. Gives you a chance to dream, so I think it’s significant.”
Connor Storms picked up the unique sport this summer after an odd suggestion from a former baseball coach
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