MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - On the final day of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, as Argentina took on France thousands of miles away, inside the gymnasium at Maplewood’s John Glenn Middle School the next generation of players here in Minnesota was paying close attention.
"It was intense, and I was screaming," U10 athlete Felix Hook told FOX 9.
"That was the best World Cup ever, it was awesome," Felix’s father Nicholas added.
For the many young athletes on hand this weekend, watching the game helped them learn the right way to play it. They immediately took what they saw on screen, and put it into action in the next room over, at a YMCA indoor soccer tournament.
Thirty youth teams from across the Twin Cities were in on the action, leaving everything on the court. And for their parents watching from the sidelines, no matter how scrappy the game might’ve looked, their athletes were equally world class.
Only some did bemoan feelings that the sport isn’t quite getting the recognition it deserves in this part of the world.
"Worldwide, it’s the most popular game in the history of planet Earth," Nicholas said.
But in the United States, it has struggled to catch on at the rate of other sports.
"In our grade not too many people like soccer," Felix said.
Because of that, organizers of Sunday’s tournament felt this year’s World Cup was even more important for the future of the game in the states.
The hope now is that Argentina’s win will become a turning point for the excitement surrounding soccer in America; growing it from what some consider a "secondary sport" into a primary attraction for upcoming athletes.
"It’s growing and having it on regular television has been fantastic," organizer Felipe Aceituno finished.