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Thousands in US turn out to watch World Cup match

By Luke Meredith
AP Sports Writer

It's a time-honored American tradition for employees to scramble for excuses whenever work gets in the way of the big game.

These days, more and more companies want workers to watch it in the office rather than call in sick.

Thousands of eager Americans set work aside on Thursday - with or without their bosses' OK - to watch the U.S. men's soccer team play Germany in a key World Cup match.

Oh, So Now America Cares About Soccer?

Fans flocked to official watch parties in places like Chicago's Grant Park, Washington's Dupont Circle and Boston's City Hall Plaza. Many more took part in supervisor-approved, morale-boosting breaks at the office.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation hosted a party for its staff of about 100 with a TV and food. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved an extra hour of lunch for all state employees so they could watch the second half.

Matt Rogers of the Washington-based Urban Institute, which held a party for its 400 employees, said the World Cup is a great way to build office relationships.

"We don't have many moments where you can find a common interest among a big chunk of that population. Sports, and in particular a World Cup-type event with a national team - and tense and dramatic sporting moments - really bring people together," Rogers said.

U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann even posted an online note for people to give to their bosses. It asked managers to excuse staff to watch the game for the good of the nation.

"By the way, you should act like a good leader and take the day off as well. Go USA!" he wrote.

At the Department of Transportation in Washington, officials were concerned that so many employees would watch the match online from their desks that it would slow down the agency's computer network.

"We are going to monitor bandwidth utilization throughout the day and we'll plan to block the streaming sites should we encounter any network issues," Todd Simpson, the department's associate chief information officer, warned in an email to workers.

John Challenger, the CEO of executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., estimated Thursday's match could cost U.S. companies $390 million in lost wages.

But Challenger added that in an era of increasingly scattered workplaces, an investment in something that brings staffers together might not be such a bad idea.

"It's what I would call a good buy for companies," Challenger said. "It's just like if you invite your team out to have drinks after work. You're spending it on enhanced morale...and trust among your people."

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
korrectionelecshun June 26 2014 at 4:38 PM

ovomit wanted Ghana or kenya to win cause ovomit n his lard arse American hatin racist wife are not America n are sabotaging America with their illegal immigrants they let "BREAK" into America. !!! ~.DEPORT ALL ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS TODAY. !!!!

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12 replies
drtsawyer June 26 2014 at 4:42 PM

Any excuse to party. Don't be fooled. Most of these people aren't soccer fans, regardless of media efforts to make us fall in love with this sport. After the U.S. is ousted, the media can return to their efforts to promote Hillary Clinton.

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6 replies
stepnet3 June 26 2014 at 6:09 PM

Look - here is Obama hard at work again.... Well at least he doesn't have golf clubs in hand... Do you think Obama pulls for America on the sports field? He certainly doesn't in the White House....

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2 replies
jet202 stepnet3 June 26 2014 at 7:06 PM

I am sure he roots for all muslim country's

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vobox3343 stepnet3 June 26 2014 at 7:13 PM

"doesn't have got clubs?" Amazing!!!

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lgvxl42 June 26 2014 at 5:28 PM

I am pleased that we've advanced to the next round, albeit via Ghana's defeat. Never the less, I'm happy for our team as well as all the fans. My only disgust is toward the poster's who bother posting their disdain for the sport. Maturity would dictate silence as opposed to verbal slander. If you enjoy a 1 run baseball game or guys throwing balls into netted hoops or guys dancing in end zones, I promise not to slam you. & I won't even remark on your wrestling shows.

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5 replies
vstlvlvaccaro June 26 2014 at 5:03 PM

People "blow off work" to watch soccer ...... Obama turned to Jarrett and said, "Why didn't YOU think of that?" ......

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2 replies
walt.hafer vstlvlvaccaro June 26 2014 at 11:27 PM


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zombie2093 vstlvlvaccaro June 27 2014 at 4:19 AM

he did! lol

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downlosd June 26 2014 at 8:30 PM

Ah yes, how classy to feature a picture of a half passed out girl with only a strapless bra on, as the chosen lead picture for this article. LOL... but breast feeding........................................

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2 replies
Meh... downlosd June 27 2014 at 9:22 AM

LOL YES... this is a perfect example of how hypocritical it is to say no one wants to see breast feeding, it's disgusting, its private.... but lets plaster this half naked chick who's half passed out in her underware for all the internet to see cause it's saxy. USA USA

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snhhert downlosd June 27 2014 at 10:02 AM

me like it

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morob54 June 26 2014 at 5:27 PM

WOW USA Really how many of those players are AMERICAN ???? The world cup is highest bidder league mercenary soccer stars has nothing to do with country .

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2 replies
Gary H Mayer morob54 June 26 2014 at 7:13 PM

morob54: Same in American baseball. Those black faces are from PR or DR, not U.S. The team I have followed from day one has two African players on the entire roster. The majority are whites and Hispanics, Latinos, Mexicans.

Incidentally, they have the second best record in MLB.

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zombie2093 morob54 June 27 2014 at 4:18 AM

all of them ya duech bag infact there are a lot of american players in clubs all over the world and some of them come home to represent their flag and you should be happy that we americans are holding our own against the international titans of soccer so dont be a duech

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jgtch June 26 2014 at 5:15 PM

When will we be "true" fans and have American Hooligans?

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1 reply
bonitoking61 jgtch June 26 2014 at 6:37 PM

We are better than that, unlike the British.

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DONTASKMEAGAIN June 26 2014 at 5:20 PM

No mention of a score - what is this story about?

By the way - TENS of thousands turn out at Yankee Stadium - EVERY GAME!!!! All season long; every year.

So, nameless writer, don't give me a story about thousands of people turning out to watch a game. If you want to write a story about a game - start with the score.

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Balticstein June 26 2014 at 4:43 PM

notice it was the gov employees who took the time off ...typical

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