From Qatar to campus, the World Cup takes over


Karina Grokhovskaya

In many places on campus, students can be seen watching the 2022 World Cup. It has become a phenomenon with staff and students tuning in for many of the games.

Senegal vs. England. The U.S. vs. The Netherlands. Australia vs. Argentina. 

No, these aren’t wars, but what they have in common with those is that there are die-hard supporters on every side. 

The contests between countries has caused international rivalries, and there are no allies. Die-hard supporters stand on every side, feeling as though everything is on the line.

The fever is spreading all across campus, and it’s wildly infectious. 

But it’s no global pandemic.

It’s bigger than that, and it’s contagious.

No, this is all about the 2022 World Cup. 

Usually held in the summer when students and teachers are away from school, this year’s event in Qatar is being held with matches occurring throughout the school day, the championship scheduled for Dec. 18.

“I think it’s great that the World Cup is happening during school instead of during summer because it gets a lot of people looking into what I would consider to be a lesser-known sport in the United States,” girls’ head soccer coach Kyle Beggs said.

If holding a major sporting event that only happens every four years during their school year isn’t enough to keep students on campus and across FISD interested, then here’s something that will: In four short years, the 2026 World Cup will be held in several cities across the United States, Canada, and Mexico, including several games at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.

All over campus, students and teachers who don’t usually watch soccer themselves have succumbed to their friends’ interest in the games, even if it’s just to cheer on their respective countries. This has led to some teachers choosing to show live games from the World Cup during class. 

World History teacher Ashley Mayfield tries to balance normal class work with the Cup’s educational value and importance to the school’s diverse student body.

I love getting to introduce students to different countries and cultures like the World Cup does,

— World History teacher Ashley Mayfield

“If we finish early, I’ll put the games on because I know a lot of [the students] are interested in it, and I love watching soccer,” Mayfield said. “Teaching World History, I love getting to introduce students to different countries and cultures like the World Cup does.”

Psychology and Geography teacher Tim Johannes watches through a different set of lenses, as he watches purely for viewing pleasure, which stems from his admiration of a particular player.

“I like Tyler Adams, the [U.S.] defender, because that guy shuts it down and doesn’t let anything past him,” Johannes said. “I try to catch all his games because any game with him in it is really entertaining.”

Because it’s such a major event, sports fans are putting lots of peer pressure on their friends to tune in to the games in an effort to support their countries. This pressure is not lost on the students. 

“My friends have been on their computers watching the Cup during class, so I just watch it,” girls’ soccer player, senior Lili Adams, said. “It kind of seems like our teachers let us get away with it because it’s the World Cup.”

There’s quite a divide over team allegiances on campus, but that’s not surprising to boys’ assistant soccer coach Kyle Parks, who once played soccer professionally in Europe. 

“In Europe, where soccer’s almost as big as football is here, it’s pretty much every man supporting his country’s soccer team, or football as they call it,” Parks said. “However, that’s only because their cultures are relatively homogenous, so in a culturally mixed country like the United States, you’re going to have a whole bunch of different people supporting a whole bunch of different teams.”

Although many people on campus were pulling for the U.S., allegiances change as the number of teams still alive drops lower and lower. 

“I always have a soft spot for England because I’ve been supporting the Premier League teams ever since I held an internship in London,” Mayfield said.

“I support Argentina and Brazil because they’ve won past World Cups and I like their players,” girls’ soccer player, senior Reese Brown, said.

“Brazil plays really entertaining soccer, so there’s a reason that they have won the most World Cups,” Beggs said. 

Usually the best soccer players in the world are widely dispersed with players on teams throughout Europe and the Americas. But the World Cup brings the best together on one stage, helping to inspire young soccer players.  

I think watching the World Cup makes me a better player because I’m watching the best players in the world,

— Senior Lili Adams

“I think watching the World Cup makes me a better player because I’m watching the best players in the world,” Adams said.

“The biggest thing about the World Cup is inspiration,” Parks said. “All of these high school guys and especially the people younger seeing the U.S. national team compete at the highest level is surely an inspiring thing that’ll motivate them to try and improve their game.”