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  • Soccer fans pitch in to support U.S. team in World Cup

  • Office desks were traded for sports bars Thursday morning for American soccer fans who gathered to watch the U.S. national team face off against Germany in the World Cup.
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  • Office desks were traded for sports bars Thursday morning for American soccer fans who gathered to watch the U.S. national team face off against Germany in the World Cup.
    RedZone Sports Bar N' Grill in downtown Ashland opened at 8:30 a.m., and more than 20 people were already in line, said Rick Krebs, one of the owners of the bar. RedZone staff handed out free coffee to the first-comers.
    Among the morning crowd were self-proclaimed "super, super-huge" soccer fans Cameron Williams and Brian Cape, decked out in American flags and leading chants as the United States advanced to the next round of the competition despite losing 1-0 to Germany.
    "This, all the fans, makes me so proud," Cape said, adding he was excited by the growing enthusiasm for soccer. "You can't be a faker because you're supporting the country. That's what matters."
    Increasing fanfare in the U.S. surrounding the World Cup enticed even those who are not usually soccer fans to put off work to catch the game, including Ashland visitor Michelle Shafer.
    Shafer is in Ashland to research reservoirs and sediments for a Washington State University project.
    "We postponed today's research to watch the game," Shafer said. "We were lucky to even get a table."
    Oregon Shakespeare Festival actor Eduardo Placer also had work after the game. That evening he was appearing in "The Cocoanuts."
    Placer, whose family is Spanish, was rooting for defending champions Spain in the World Cup, but despite their early exit from the tournament said he still avidly watches the games because he loves the community and history of the event.
    "It brings people together, both within countries and as a world," Placer said. "Even in Ashland we have tourists and locals and they're all here together."
    One of those tourists was Lisa Keller of Georgia, who spent her first morning in Ashland at RedZone.
    "I'm really looking forward to seeing the rest of Ashland, but this is more important," Keller said.
    Soon after opening, Krebs was already turning people away because they were at their capacity of about 50. Tony and Ellen Terrich were surprised to see the bar packed at 10 a.m.
    "We thought we'd pop in, have a cup of tea, and catch up on the score," Tony said.
    Tony said they became interested in the World Cup this year because of the U.S. team's growing success. The U.S. game against Portugal was the first soccer match he has watched from start to finish.
    "We couldn't even find it on in English," Ellen said. "So we watched the full soccer game in Spanish."
    Despite falling to Germany Thursday, the U.S. advanced through Group G into the knockout stage after Portugal's win over Ghana. The final decision was accompanied by chants of "best loss ever" and a standing ovation from fans in the RedZone.
    Just before the bar's usual opening time of 11 a.m., fans put down their beers and fries and headed back into the real world.
    For Williams and Cape, it meant going to work at the movie theater.
    "This is nothing," Williams said. "Last World Cup we woke up at 6:30 to catch the games."
    Reach Mail Tribune reporting intern Kelsey Thomas at 541-776-4368 or kthomas@mailtribune.com. Follow her on Twitter @kelseyethomas.
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