BILLINGS — Hooligan's Sports Bar in Billings will be hosting FIFA World Cup 2022 watch parties at its downtown bar.
The men's team for the USA has not made a world cup appearance since 2012, after failing to qualify for the 2018 tournament.
MTN News visited the watch party on Monday for the men's USA match against Wales.
“It’s really exciting. It’s a fun environment, and the thing that makes it different is we’re all cheering for the same team. There’s about 300 people for Team USA, it’s fun," explains bar owner Sean Graves at the watch party. "It’s not like the Cat-Griz game where it’s half and half of the people. Everybody’s here cheering for the USA."
Graves explains that the sports bar is named Hooligan's Futbol Club Sports Bar, and the bar has been hosting world cup watch parties since it opened.
"Our concept at the beginning was to be a great place to watch all kinds of sports, but definitely a big focus on soccer,” Graves says.
Fans were seen cheering, singing, and anxiously watching the game that ended in a 1-1 tie.
Ty Schmechel and Lane Robillard were some of the many Team USA fans in the building.
Schmechel explains that he has grown up watching soccer and can remember waking up to watch the 2002 FIFA games.
"It's the number one team I follow," Schmechel explains.
Robillard says that he is on the boy's soccer team at Billings West High School, and he said that the last time the USA was in the World Cup, he wasn't as big of a fan as he is now.
"Over the past couple of years I've really come to fall in love with the game, so we're just having a great time out here," Robillard explains.
But the watchers weren't exclusive to Team USA fans.
"There are two people from Wales here," Graves explains.
“I’m here to watch the game. My wife is from Billings, and I’ve been here eight years,” says Jonathan Kibblewhite. He is originally from Wales and came to Hooligan's to cheer on his team by his wife's side.
“I was surprised to see how many people that are here that are soccer fans. I haven’t met many of them around but there’s a lot of them here, so this is great,” Kibblewhite explains. “If Wales doesn’t win, I’m going to support Team USA."
Graves explains that he is looking forward to Friday night's watch party.
"This is a whole different crowd. Friday we play England, it’s going to be absolutely crazy because most people are going to have the day off work,” Graves says.
For more information on Hooligan's, please click here.