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KC soccer fans recall World Cup, international fan experience

KC is ready to welcome the World Cup
Posted at 11:02 AM, Jun 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-17 18:09:13-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — Soccer fans in Kansas City are counting down the hours until FIFA announces whether KC will be a host city for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Johnny’s Tavern near KC's Power and Light District is known to host some of these die-hard U.S. soccer fans like Christopher Donahoo.

"It's the culture that surrounds the game, there's no other sport in the world that really brings people from every walk of life together for one event," Donahoo said.

Donahoo's love for soccer has taken him around the world. He’s made it to several World Cup games, qualifiers and even had former U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team Captain Landon Donavon on his wedding cake and former U.S., and then-Kansas City Wizards, player Jimmy Conrad at his wedding.

"There's no politics, there's no economic status, it's everyone on the same playing field," Donahoo said. "Everyone wants to be there for the same reasons."

Pete Kalwei is another die-hard American soccer fan. He’s traveled internationally to cheer on the red, white and blue and is part of American Outlaws with Donahoo. The American Outlaws is an organization that rallies in support of the U.S. national soccer teams.

"We were in Mexico City and were in Costa Rica for men’s qualifiers, think of an entire stadium of fans who this game means more to them than about any game we have ever been to in our lives," Kalwei said.

However, these fans are ready to cheer on their favorite team in the heart of America.

"It would be amazing to have my hometown where I was born, where I've lived the vast majority of my life, what an awesome thing for this town to have this in our backyard," he said.

If KC gets the World Cup bid, both Donahoo and Kalwei are confident Kansas City will rise to the occasion.

"We probably will throw some beer in the air, it would be my guess, and then we start planning," Kalwei said. "It's going to be an incredible undertaking, not just for the city but for American Outlaws in Kansas City."