How to Connect With Soccer Culture in the Midwest

Earlier this month, I wrote about 11 People to Follow on Twitter for the World Cup to get you excited before the tournament hits our TVs next summer. If you need any proof of soccer’s popularity, particularly in social media, check out some of these numbers from December 6, the day the World Cup draw was held: More than 1.7 million tweets sent. The President of Brazil sent tweets directly to two of the country’s biggest stars. And for the United States? The peak hit at 12:17 p.m. EST when the USA’s difficult group was announced. Capturing the game live and following along with Twitter on your smartphone connects the world more than ever. The 2010 World Cup was connected, but this is the year Twitter takes the news and personal connections to the next level. Let’s take a look at where you can go across the Midwest to connect in person with popular gathering spots to watch the world’s game. We’re using our smartphones to keep up with scores and news from leagues around the world, even live look-ins on games that were barely even available on paid TV packages a decade ago. But getting out with other fans connects the passionate with their passion! If we missed a place, and I’m sure we did, let us know in the comments section or tweet a new suggestion to us with #vzwmidwest. Chicago In Chicago, The Globe Pub is the center of the city’s soccer universe. You’ll find knowledgeable soccer fans from around the world, a full English breakfast and a massive secondary room packed with screens to catch all the action from the most remote leagues. The Globe is even a must-stop location for some of the most famous soccer stars from around the world when their clubs are touring the United States in the summer. Check their home page and you’ll see a picture of Manchester United legend Gary Neville, and on their walls you’ll even see pictures of Arsenal supporters with the 2005 FA Cup. Also in Chicago, The Map Room is another place you can find a home with other soccer lovers. Billed as a “traveler’s tavern,” The Map Room gives you a chance to swap stories and memories when it opens up at 7:30 a.m. on Saturdays. Indianapolis Peter Wilt is a legend for soccer fans in the Midwest. His name is in the Chicago Fire Ring of Honor, and he’s currently bringing professional soccer to Indianapolis with the fledgling Indy Eleven. Peter reported from Indianapolis: “Soccer matches on televisions in pubs and restaurants are becoming the norm in America’s racing capital. The Chatham Tap on Massachusetts Ave. and its sister establishment in suburban Fishers are the go-to places for big matches, but others are joining the soccer viewing culture. Union Jack’s in Broad Ripple, the Brockway Pub in north suburban Carmel, Loughmiller’s across from the state capital and two Claddagh Irish Pubs are among the newest establishments to embrace the world’s game. Union Jack’s is the home base for the American Outlaws, who watch all the U.S. Men’s National Team games there. The 1,800 members of the Brickyard Battalion – the supporters group for the new NASL team Indy Eleven – spread their soccer love among many bars and restaurants throughout central Indiana.” Kansas City Kansas City’s MLS team – Sporting Kansas City – is the newest champion, having lifted the MLS Cup on December 7. The city gathers at Futbol Club Eatery & Tap, whose schedule boasts matches from leagues as far-flung as Bulgaria and Morocco. Check Yelp! and you’ll see some rave reviews. Milwaukee In Milwaukee, the soccer mad fans have a growing stable of options, anchored by the original Nomad World Pub on the city’s east side, the newer Three Lions Pub on the north side and the world famous Highbury Pub in Bay View, just south of downtown. Minneapolis Downtown Minneapolis is packed with options. Wes Burdine, who is a cohost on the popular du Nord Futbol Show, tells us about four spots you should know for the Twin Cities: The Nomad World Pub in the Cedar/Riverside neighborhood brings in college students, the local Somali community and just about everyone else. They boast the best toast bar in the Midwest, host the Dark Clouds soccer watch parties of Minnesota United FC games and throw one of the best World Cup celebrations. The Local is a downtown spot that opens early (6 a.m.) for matches and dishes up free coffee until 8 a.m. You’ll find fans of popular English clubs like Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur at The Local. You might even run into someone like Rod Stewart, who Wes reports popped in once and chatted with him about Irish striker and current L.A. Galaxy star Robbie Keane. The Sweetwater is the restaurant at the Best Western Hotel by the State Capitol in Saint Paul. Said, the owner, is a huge soccer fan and has long supported soccer fans. Wes reports this is the spot to head for a United States National Team match. St. Louis Do you call St. Louis home? Then maybe you’re a patron of Amsterdam Tavern, where you’ll find like-minded soccer mad folks gathering on weekend mornings. Another favorite of Yelp! reviewers. What about your hometown? Have I left your favorite off? Any other must-stop soccer pubs in the Midwest you want to let everyone know about? Leave a comment or tell us on Twitter with #vzwmidwest. For more Verizon Wireless news, subscribe via RSS feeds in the right rail. Photo Credit: Nelson Cruz via Compfight cc