The Ameican soccer team had a good run, but ended up coming just short of advancing last week, but it wasn’t for lack of cheering on the part of Chelsea’s Roy and Nicolas Avellaneda.
The two brothers spent two weeks in Fortaleza, Brazil taking in the various World Cup Group Play matches – including games featuring the U.S. and Argentina, where the Avellanedas’ parents are from.
Roy, who is a candidate for state representative this September, took a few weeks off from the campaign to take part in one of his great passions – soccer. Avellaneda and his father, Tito, have been instrumental in founding and continuing the Chelsea Youth Soccer League.
“It was great to get to go to Brazil and see such great games and meet fans from all over the world,” he said. “The Brazilian people were very friendly and adored Americans. If you had an American jersey on, they would come right up to you and want to take a picture with you. However, I got a completely different response when I wore my Argentina shirt, of course. I fully expected that, though. They are arch rivals.”
Avellaneda said he has been to only one other World Cup, but that was only in 1994 when Foxboro hosted World Cup matches during the U.S.’s only hosting bid. However, he and his brother really wanted to take in the full measure of the cup this time.
“We did watch matches in Foxboro in `94, but that really doesn’t fully count,” he said. “My brother and I had been planning this for years and we said if the U.S. and Argentina both qualify, we would go to Brazil. In November, when they both qualified, we decided to make it happen. I was hoping the U.S. could have done better, and really wish they had beaten Portugal. However, they showed the rest of the world what they had and earned a lot of respect from players, coaches and fans from around the world. We’ll see what happens in Russia in four years.”
Avellaneda said he is hoping that the U.S. might be able to nab the host duties for the 2018 World Cup, as there is talk that host Russia might have their host status revoked due to its actions in Ukraine.
He said it is preferable to have such huge events in established countries like the U.S. because infrastructure in places like Brazil is not at the level that it is in countries like the U.S.
“With all due respect to Brazil, there were a lot of issues about them being prepared and having the infrastructure to support a world event,” he said. “It’s not as easy in some of these places in other countries to get around. We have the infrastructure, the roads and hotels, and we have 32 professional football stadium ready right now that could easily host a World Cup match. They only need eight of them. We would be ready very quickly, so I’m crossing my fingers that it may happen.”