June 9, 2010
The World Cup kicks off this Friday, and a handful of Charlottesville residents join many others in the world who are drunk with love for it.
In the United States, more kids play soccer than any other game. Once the World Cup gets underway in South Africa, many local soccer players will leave the field for a television to watch their favorite player.
Pop superstar Shakira is in South Africa to open the two weeks of action with the official World Cup song, "Waka Waka. The opening match of the tournament will be in Soweto.
But she won't be alone. Hundreds of thousands of visiting fans will add nearly $2 billion to the economy and create thousands of new jobs.
Local man Andy Wilson is packing up his bags for the trip to Johannesburg.
"It's the biggest sporting event in the world," Wilson said.
Wilson owns the Total Soccer store in Charlottesville, and sales are hopping on merchandise for the local team favorite, the United States. Merchandise for Italy, Brazil and Honduras is also hot.
It's about 8,100 miles from Charlottesville to Johannesburg. At a cost of about $1,500 just for the flight, Wilson said it's worth the trip.
For those who can't make it to Johannesburg, Charlottesville's Paramount Theater will host a watching party for the final game of the World Cup on the largest high-definition screen in Central Virginia.