Monday Jun 14 2010
Fans bring the soccer world cup to Auburn
By: Colin Berr Journal Staff Writer
Auburn World Cup fans brought their enthusiasm to the streets of Auburn Saturday morning, in what its creators call Auburn’s first World Cup Flag Run. Beginning at 10:30 a.m., flag-laden, face-painted soccer fans jogged from Railhead Park through the city of Auburn and ended in Old Town at Café Delicias, to watch the much-anticipated USA vs. England match. Oncoming cars honked their horns in support and pedestrians cheered them on their way as the runners sang soccer chants and waved their flags. As one of the flag-runners, I had the unique opportunity to live the World Cup Soccer experience in a most colorful atmosphere. “The idea came to us just a week ago,” said Steffen Berr, co-planner of the event. “We’ve always been a little disappointed in the contrast of soccer enthusiasm between the United States and other parts of the world. So we decided to create some for ourselves!” Planners worked frantically with a five-day time frame to construct flags, generate publicity, and create a route through Auburn. Many of the flags were created from old bed sheets, paint, and bamboo sticks, said Steffen Berr. While numbers weren’t as high as hoped, runners came from as far as the outskirts of Sacramento. “It was an absolute blast,” said Dominick Romano of Citrus Heights. “I felt the enthusiasm that so many cultures around the globe share for this sport.” In addition to carrying flags and a soccer ball, the runners also took turns carrying a portable boom box, which blared out soccer-inspired music. Once they reached Café Delicias, the fans watched the underdog US national soccer team play to a 1-1 draw with group favorite England. Adviser Edward Berr said the run has inspired him to take the idea further. “It would be interesting for Flag Runs to be community-sponsored events and also take place in cities across the U.S.,” Edward Berr said. Currently, no concrete date has been set for the next Flag Run, but planners are hoping to align the date with one of the US’s next matches. Local soccer clubs are encouraged to call (916) 709-7141 for information on the next run. Author Colin Berr, an Auburn resident and student at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, is doing a summer internship at the Auburn Journal.