Top 10 Ways to Enjoy the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Hawaii

How to make sense of soccer Island style.

It’s normally football that Hawaii fans get excited for, not futbol.  But the 2014 FIFA World Cup has turned into a cup of surprises, one after another, from the Netherlands’ stunning defeat of defending champion Spain, to the nail-biting advancement of the U.S. team.

Despite our time zone challenge, Hawaii is a great place to enjoy the World Cup. “We have such diversity in terms of ethnicity,” Hawaii Soccer Association president Donna Fouts says. “You could probably talk to 15 different people and they’re rooting for 10 different teams. It’s not like football, where a lot of people say, ‘Oh, you live in Hawaii so you’re a such-and-such fan.’ A lot of the favoritism comes more with the player than the team.”

So who will it be? Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, or Neymar? The fun and games inspired us to come up with a list of ways to enjoy the event, indoors and out. Whether you’ve been avidly keeping up with matches, or just got interested, here are some tips to best enjoy the World Cup in the Islands. Remember to tune in at 10 a.m. on July 1 to catch the U.S. – Belgium game.

1. Understand the game

Confused about that 2-2 tie between the U.S. and Portugal? Wondering how we could have advanced after the loss to Germany on Thursday? The cup is based on a point system, and now that the knockout rounds have started, staying in won’t be as easy. If you still don’t understand what “offside” means, here are some handy links to help you get started:

Soon you’ll be sounding like a pro, saying things like, “Don’t hate on Cristiano Ronaldo, he saved the U.S. team from getting disqualified!” or “Suarez busted for biting AGAIN?”

2. Throw a soccer viewing party!

With the time difference, waking up early to watch important matches will require group effort and support.  For weekend games, invite friends over to cheer for your favorite team. Extra bait? Make it a mimosa morning, pajamas welcome.

3. No ESPN? No problem!

Watch the games live online for free at  Be aware that the commentary will be in Spanish. Stretch your ears and practice listening to Español, or just put it on mute and pay attention to what really matters—the game.

4. Get connected

Add the free FIFA (pronounced fee-fah) phone app to follow all the action in Brazil. Find the latest articles, pictures, and videos and sign up for live updates for your favorite team.

5. Cheer on with other kamaaina soccer addicts

Grab your friends and head over to one of these sports-friendly venues to catch World Cup games with fellow Hawaii soccer fans. They even open early for the U.S. matches.

  • Tropics Tap House
    1019 University Ave., 955-5088

  • Rival’s
    2211 Kuhio Ave., 923-0600

  • Legends
    411 Nahua St., 922-7486

  • Murphy’s
    2 Merchant St., 531-0422

  • Big City Diner
    Multiple locations

6. Join a local soccer league!

“We have a little over 3,000 men and women in the adult league,” Fouts says. “For a state that’s only a million, that’s pretty impressive. We’re Hawaii’s best-kept secret.”

There are leagues for all ages with opportunities to compete, including the World Masters Games, popular with former Olympians and professional athletes. Last summer, all three women teams with Hawaii players came home from Italy with gold medals.

“It started 25 years ago, as athletes aged and wanted to continue playing,” Fouts says. “It’s an unbelievable venue with big bands and fireworks and they announce your name and put your medal on. We all thought, ‘Well, this is as close to the Olympics we’ll ever get!’ Soccer is a game for life and just because you get to be 40, 50 or 60, doesn’t mean you have to stop.”

7. Looking for a little less competition?

There are numerous pick-up games going on weekly at Kapiolani, Ala Moana, Kailua Beach parks and elsewhere. Find times and locations online at or Honolulu Soccer Club meets on Saturday mornings. For more information, visit the club’s website.

It’s also worth checking out the Waipio Soccer Park. On Saturdays and Sundays, games are going on for both young and old. “You drive past Waipahu High School and think, ‘There can’t be anything out here!’” Fouts says. “But you go through the gates and there are 20 fields and a 4,000-5,000 people stadium. Whether you play soccer or not, you can feel the energy.”

8. Hawaii’s version of World Cup

Speaking of tournaments, Hawaii fans can enjoy our own versions of the World Cup: the Hawaii International Cup and Aloha International Cup. The highly competitive youth soccer tournaments are open to boys and girls teams from the U.S. and around the world. Past international teams have included Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Guam, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Canada and Sweden, along with teams from 18 U.S. states.

Hawaii International Cup, July 10 – 13,; Aloha International Cup, July 17 – 20,

9. Inspired by Neymar’s abs?

Get a killer work out and play soccer on the beach with some friends at your next barbeque. Make sure to go to a ball-friendly beach, with plenty of open space for playing in the sand. Our favorite is Ke Iki beach on the North Shore.

10. Make it a family affair

Watch and discuss the games with your ohana.  “This year is great because you usually get three games every day, and their outcomes are not the expected, which adds to the excitement,” Hawaii Soccer Association director Frank Doyle says. “For me, this year, the World Cup has added very nicely—not that we always agree—to family quality time.”