Fifa Fever in Pilsen

By Tim Herdphoto

The World Cup has kicked its way across the globe, giving everyone that “fifa fever” that has people yelling and cheering for various teams.

On the Lower West Side of Chicago in a small Mexican area known as Pilsen, residents had also seemed to have caught that fever as well.

“I’ve been watching America and the American games,” said Agel Sirngua, 57, a popsicle vendor who sported a gray button up shirt and team U.S.A. hat.

Although Sirngua watched the American games and wore the hat as if he was silently stating that the U.S. was going to win the World Cup, he had a different team in mind… “Australia, I believe, is going to win the World Cup,” he said.

Daniel Gutierrez Jr., 42, owner of the Nuevo Leon restaurant, had two other teams in mind.

“U.S.A. or Argentina, I have to go for my home country though,” Gutierrez said.

Other significance the World Cup has to offer is unification…at least in the mind of Gutierrez.

“…I enjoy the overall attention that the World Cup has been getting, I think as the World Cup goes along more people are becoming united,” Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez wasn’t the only person to think this, however, and upon entering the Sabina Tortilla factory, manager Jose Sandoval made this very clear with his witty responses.

“Culturally, we all just come together and vote for the same team…this is a big time here,” said Sandoval, 39.

This fever was visible upon the first few steps from the train on the Lower West Side between a multitude of streets including 16th street to the north, Halsted Street to the east, Cermak Road to the south, and Western Avenue to the west.

It was here where colorful displays of artwork on the walls and the sounds of people celebrating and placing their head in their folded arms as almost to mourn while watching the World Cup games on television occurred, showing that Pilsen was quite indeed, a place where the World Cup was embraced.

“We just come together ya know,” Sandoval said. “They call it football but I just say its soccer, but it’s just a good time, the World Cup is.”

Chinatown

Little India

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