RIVERTOWNS, N.Y. -- The Village Soccer Shop in Tarrytown is all soccer, all the time, but this week, Rivertowns fans will join "football" fans around the world following the 2014 World Cup from Brazil, beginning with the Thursday, June 12, opening game between host Brazil and Croatia.
Customers moved through The Village Soccer Shop's colorful inventory of shirts, shoes and soccer equipment talking about the game and their favorite teams.
"I hear talk from the customers about the World Cup and the top countries and teams, and it seems like American kids are wearing team soccer shirts more and more," Village Soccer Shop owner Danny D'Angelo said. "You see more games on television all year, and I'm sure the excitement will build, and that's good for soccer in the U.S."
Ossining's Joe Cavallo, who was born in Italy but raised on American football, said he has his favorite teams in the 64-team World Cup field.
"I like Germany and Belgium to surprise people, and the U.S. will be better than people think," Cavallo said. "I also like Germany and of course, Italy -- always a good team."
Muhammad Alymany, who is from Spain, and schoolmate Faisal Al-Tahan, from Saudi Arabia, both attend the EF Academy in Tarrytown, where they were shopping for "football" gear at the Village Soccer Shop.
"I like Germany to win," Al-Tahan said. "Football is the biggest sport in Saudia Arabia, so we all follow the players on the national teams. I don't think the home team Brazil will win. Spain is good and Italy, too."
Alymany said he is a fan of Spain and expects the World Cup to be exciting.
"The whole world watches the World Cup, and we all grow up playing soccer, even in the U.S.," Alymany said. "It should be a great tournament."
Tarrytown's Andrew Kozak, who played soccer in high school, will be watching closely as the U.S. competes.
"When does the U.S. play?" Kozak asked. "I will be watching after work when the games come on. I hope the U.S. does well."