MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Fans are both heartbroken and proud after U.S.A. is knocked out of the World Cup by Belgium.
“I think we played our hearts out, honestly I think we gave it our all,” said a disappointed fan Casey Ignizio.
Fans knew beating Belgium wouldn’t be easy, but they still had faith the U.S.A would ride out with momentum after advancing out of the group of death, exceeding all expectations and making it to the knockout round.
“Definitely gave it their all, you could tell at the end of the game they had very little left in their tank,” said fan Joe Tobolowsky. “I’m proud of them, you know what, in 4 years we’ll be with them again, go USA all the way take it all the way in Russia.”
Social media blew up with 9.1 million tweets during the match and more than 1.8 million mentions of Tim Howard. Belgium’s defeat of the US drove more than 200,000 tweets per minute.
The White House also took to twitter writing: “Very proud of US soccer. Well win it all sooner than the world thinks. #Believeit”
The US team tweeted to fans: “Thank you for your support, passion and pride the whole world cup. We stand together as #onenationoneteam.”
During the game fans cheered on the players at watch parties across South Florida.
At Fritz and Franz Bierhaus in Coral Gables, soccer fans, both new and old, were excited.
The game was a big deal for long-time soccer fans who have seen the U.S. national team rise on the world stage.
Before the game began, some fans even showed up extra early to save indoor spots for the game just in case it rains.
While some fans planned to take off early from work, other diehards, like Noah Nunez, took the entire day off.
“Being Latino it’s what makes the blood pump. Anybody from any Latin nation knows that soccer is number one, it’s the world’s game, it’s a beautiful game, so I guess maybe I took it a little too far but it’s what makes the blood pump, it’s the heart, it’s what keeps me going,” said Nunez.
When asked why he thought there was so much support for the U.S. in this World Cup, Nunez said ‘hey, it’s the United States’.
“It’s not the number one sport, it’s not the most popular sport, but those of us who grew up playing it know that, like anything else, it’s competitive, it gets you going and, I mean, it’s fun in the end,” said Nunez. “We’re founded on unity to begin with and as always America does things when we are strong in numbers. So why not compete like we do in anything else, in any other sport, or any other political issue, you know.”
When asked if the U.S. could take Belgium, Nunez said ‘of course, if you believe’.
Another fan had the same hopes for the team .
“The us has a very good chance of moving on the round of eight so it’s a big deal for us. I don’t think we’ve made it there in a very, very long time,” said soccer fan Nick Fuentes.
At Fado Irish Pub in Brickell, a group called the American Outlaws exercised their vocal cords at their party headquarters for the game.
“It’s all about uniting and supporting the U.S. men’s soccer team,” said group member Matt Johnson.
The club kicked off several years ago in Nebraska and has since spread to more than 130 chapters across the country. Miami being the third largest with more than 300 fanatics.
“It’s the greatest fans in the world basically the new generation of fans for the soccer team for America. You know we’ve been around for 100 years but it’s finally getting to that point,” said group member Bradley Macleroy.
These fans see themselves as outlaws in the sports world because in the US, soccer isn’t as popular as basketball, football and baseball.
“It’s a long time coming. We needed some type of soccer identity here in Miami. We don’t have that. We don’t have a team but people do love soccer in Miami. This is just a start,” said club member Ed Sirano.
Beckhams bid to bring Major League Soccer has also helped bring hype for soccer to South Florida. Many “outlaws” hoping his soccer deal in Miami will give them a place to call home.
“We’re dying for stadium deal to be done so we can finally celebrate having a team,” said club member Max Ramos-Paez. “We are really happy with how far the chapter has come and excited for the future of how big the chapter can actually be.”