SteelStacks still a draw for World Cup fans on a weekday in Bethlehem

By Danielle Nelson

*This article is posted on The Express Times website.

Soccer1From left, Matt Rich, Steven Jamison, Shane Otto and Garrett Rizzo cheer for USA Soccer as they watch the USA vs. Germany World Cup soccer game June 26, 2014, at the Levitt Pavilion at Steelstacks in Bethlehem. Photo Credit Bill Adams | The Express-Times


Draped in red, white and blue, Ben Tannis wouldn’t have missed today’s United States-Germany World Cup match for anything, not even work.

“I am a huge soccer fan,” Tannis said. “I follow the Premier League, the Euro League; I follow soccer pretty much year round, so the World Cup is pretty big to me.”

Tannis, an employee at the Weyerbacher Brewing Co. in Easton, took the day off to watch the match along with thousands of other soccer fans at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in South Side Bethlehem.

The crowd was about half of the 10,000 who came out Sunday for U.S.-Portugal, said ArtsQuest spokesman Mark Demko.

Although the U.S. men’s national team lost today, Tannis was able to leave the game excited; the team still advanced to the knockout round of 16.

Because of taking today off, Tannis said, he will work Sunday.

Aytekin Bozkan was not so lucky. Bozkan, an industrial engineer, had to be at work at 7:30 a.m. but only for a half-day. Bozkan was able to clock out just in time to sit back and watch the game on the SteelStacks big screen.

U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann reposted a tongue-in-cheek tweet on Wednesday, with a form excusing soccer fans from work to watch the game.

The weekday droves who came out in their red, white and blue with American flags flying above their heads were able to watch the game on several screens, including outdoor screens at the Levitt Pavilion and PBS39 Public Media & Education Center.

When fans ducked inside the ArtsQuest Center for food and drinks, they were able to watch the game on TV screens and on a wall where the action was projected.

The next viewing party for a U.S. match is 4 p.m. Tuesday at SteelStacks, Demko said. The U.S. will play Belgium in Salvador, Brazil, in a match broadcast on ESPN.

ArtsQuest plans to continue to show World Cup games through July 13.

“It is really exciting to see so many people come out for the World Cup during the work week,” Demko said.

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