PLATTSBURGH — With the World Cup in full swing and the United States national soccer team on the verge of its round 16 matchup against Belgium today, local fans have plenty of excitement to talk about.
Some, though, are international students who have been cheering for their home team while away, among them Mateus Honorato, a recent SUNY Plattsburgh graduate from Ribeirao Preto, Brazil.
“If I was there, I’d obviously be going to games because I live right near one of the stadiums,” Mateus Honorato said.
“Since I’m stuck here, and I can’t work or do anything until I get my visa, I’ve been watching all of the games.”
Honorato has met up with friends, and even a former professor, at Buffalo Wild Wings to view the contests.
It’s not the same as seeing them in person — as his parents did last Thursday when Portugal defeated Ghana — but even so, he’s having a great time.
“So far, this has been the best World Cup anybody has ever seen because the goal average per game is the highest since 1950,” he said. “(In) the first phase, they averaged more than three goals a game, so that was ridiculous.
“It’s fun to watch, it’s fun for the fans, (and) people are having a blast back in Brazil.”
Come game time Friday, when Brazil takes on Colombia in the quarter finals, Honorato’s eyes will be glued to the TV screen.
Soccer has always been a big part of his life.
“As soon as you’re born, the first gift you get is a soccer ball,” he said.
“Every parent’s dream is to have their kid become a professional soccer player. I feel like that got imprinted in Brazil so bad because for some of those people who come from really poor areas, that’s the only shot they have at giving their family a better life because inequality is so big.”