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      Round of 16 Viewing Party in Kearney

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      The United States men’s soccer team fell to Belgium 2-1 in the round of 16 in the World Cup. Local coaches are saying soccer fever is in the air and the sport is growing in popularity across Nebraska.

      Soccer excitement has filled many of the Kearney soccer youth teams to max capacity.

      “We really don’t want a kid that has a high interest in high playing level of soccer not to have that opportunity. So we are very flexible with what we do and what we offer and trying to make sure everyone gets a chance to play,” said Kearney soccer coach Mike Munch.

      The coach thinks the city may have to add more teams in the 10-12 year-old leagues. He also thinks more kids will be deciding to go out for high school teams in Nebraska.

      One North Plate native has been playing soccer since he was six and he says he has seen a huge growth in the sport's popularity.

      “Just seeing the youth have started to grow on the sport and have been playing a lot more. I mean looking at the bar we wouldn’t have had this last World Cup -- past four years has been tremendous growth,” said Madison Doughty.

      Fanatics in Kearney had a World Cup viewing party with more than 100 fans packing the bar to catch the game.
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