Subscribe
David Young, originally from Ohio, displays his American pride Thursday afternoon in downtown Kaiserslautern. Young watched the U.S.-Ghana World Cup game on a jumbo outdoor TV in a public viewing area alongside dozens of Americans.

David Young, originally from Ohio, displays his American pride Thursday afternoon in downtown Kaiserslautern. Young watched the U.S.-Ghana World Cup game on a jumbo outdoor TV in a public viewing area alongside dozens of Americans. (Steve Mraz / S&S)

David Young, originally from Ohio, displays his American pride Thursday afternoon in downtown Kaiserslautern. Young watched the U.S.-Ghana World Cup game on a jumbo outdoor TV in a public viewing area alongside dozens of Americans.

David Young, originally from Ohio, displays his American pride Thursday afternoon in downtown Kaiserslautern. Young watched the U.S.-Ghana World Cup game on a jumbo outdoor TV in a public viewing area alongside dozens of Americans. (Steve Mraz / S&S)

U.S. soccer fans in downtown Kaiserslautern celebrate the United States' lone goal in the Ghana-U.S. World Cup match on Thursday.

U.S. soccer fans in downtown Kaiserslautern celebrate the United States' lone goal in the Ghana-U.S. World Cup match on Thursday. (Scott Schonauer / S&S)

Air Force Capt. Metodi Roulev from Ramstein Air Base, left, waves a U.S. flag in a downtown Kaiserslautern, public viewing area during the U.S.-Ghana World Cup game Thursday afternoon. Army Capt. Brian Smith, right, stands ready to celebrate with his flag.

Air Force Capt. Metodi Roulev from Ramstein Air Base, left, waves a U.S. flag in a downtown Kaiserslautern, public viewing area during the U.S.-Ghana World Cup game Thursday afternoon. Army Capt. Brian Smith, right, stands ready to celebrate with his flag. (Steve Mraz / S&S)

U.S. soccer fans watch the second half of the U.S.-Ghana World Cup match on an outdoor jumbo TV on Thursday in downtown Kaiserslautern.

U.S. soccer fans watch the second half of the U.S.-Ghana World Cup match on an outdoor jumbo TV on Thursday in downtown Kaiserslautern. (Steve Mraz / S&S)

Air Force Capt. Metodi Roulev, right, who is assigned to the 16th Air Force at Ramstein Air Base, watches in downtown Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Thursday as the U.S.-Ghana World Cup match comes to a disappointing close.

Air Force Capt. Metodi Roulev, right, who is assigned to the 16th Air Force at Ramstein Air Base, watches in downtown Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Thursday as the U.S.-Ghana World Cup match comes to a disappointing close. (Scott Schonauer / S&S)

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Watching the United States get booted from the World Cup on Thursday broke the hearts of hopeful fans.

But it wasn’t enough to cure World Cup fever for many Americans stationed in Europe or just visiting.

Airman 1st Class Roger Davis is disappointed the U.S. team lost to Ghana 2-1 and won’t advance to the next round, but it will not get in the way of enjoying an epic party.

“The World Cup is the best show on earth,” said Davis, who is stationed at Ramstein Air Base and attached to the 86th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. “Where else can you get every country in the world together, chilling and having fun? That only happens during the World Cup, and I’m down with it.”

Hundreds of Americans gathered at downtown Kaiserslautern’s Stiftplatz to watch the afternoon game on an outdoor jumbo TV screen. Some arrived with U.S. flags draped over their shoulders or dressed in replica jerseys of their favorite U.S. players.

Air Force Capt. Ray Handrich made the hour-plus drive from Spangdahlem Air Base to watch the game in downtown Kaiserslautern.

“We tried hard to get tickets to the game and couldn’t,” he said. “We just figured we’d come out, enjoy the local crowd, get some beer, some brats (bratwursts) and have a great time.”

Just being able to watch the games in Germany alongside dozens of Americans was a treat for West Point Cadets Jorge Cruz and Josh Dabashinsky, who are in Germany for the summer. The two watched the game at one of the downtown public viewing areas.

“I really like being here,” Dabashinsky said. “There’s a lot of Americans here. It kind of feels like home.”

Cruz, Dabashinsky and Army 1st Lt. Shilo Velasquez raised their arms and American flags after the U.S. scored a goal. However, they would find little else to cheer.

When Ghana went up 2-1 on a controversial penalty kick, enthusiastic flag-wavers suddenly stood quietly, and boisterous fans with faces painted red, white and blue stared into their beers.

But the gloom quickly lifted.

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Shawn Brock stood with other airmen in the plaza and lamented how Coach Bruce Arena should have put Eddie Johnson in the game sooner. But he was glad to be in Kaiserslautern on temporary duty from Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico at the same time as the World Cup.

He doesn’t follow soccer closely, but he now better understands why the rest of the world is so passionate about the sport.

“I can feel the pride of the other nations just by watching it,” he said.

Air Force Capt. Matt Anderson, a C-17 pilot stationed at McChord Air Force Base in Washington, took two weeks of leave so he could fly from Seattle with his family to Germany and watch the tournament. He attributed the first-round flop by the U.S. to a lack of “creativity” on offense. Although he was disappointed by Thursday’s game, he doesn’t regret traveling thousands of miles to be a part of it.

“It’s still worth it,” said Anderson, a former Air Force Academy soccer player. “I love the atmosphere. I love Germany. It’s still the greatest party on earth probably with all the different countries.”

While the U.S. is out, some Americans said they will still have a team to cheer for the rest of the way. Most Americans have roots in other countries, giving them a license to root for the country of their ancestors. Such countries as Mexico, England, France, Germany and Italy are still in the tournament and will probably gain some new fans.

Davis, a native of Trinidad-Tobago, which also was eliminated, intends to have a blast and meet new people from places he couldn’t point to on a map.

“I didn’t even know where Ghana was until now,” he said. “But when the Ghana fans get down tonight, I’m going to get down, too.”

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now