World Cup fever hits Fresno Fuego

Fresno, CA

"It's Argentina, man," said Argentine defender Gaston Cignetti. "Of course."

"In my heart," said Serbian midfielder Mihailo Jovanovic, "Serbia's going to win the World Cup."

"Cameroon of course," said Cameroonian midfielder Cyprian Hedrick.

"Mexico for sure," said Mexican forward Gabriel Gonzalez.

"Brazil's going to win," said Brazilian midfielder Vitor Machado.

Or maybe they think they know. But that's what makes the upcoming one month, every four years so special. From Africa to Europe.

"The fighting, the wars and everything," said Hedrick. "Everybody puts all that aside to come and play this one sport we all love."

"A lot of restaurants are open for public," said Jovanovic. "A lot of TV's are outside. Video beams, the drinks are free."

South America, to south of the border.

"At work they have to have a TV to see the game," said Cignetti, "Or people leave the place. They won't show up."

"Everybody's tuned in to watch the games," said Gonzalez. "Everybody gets together and a big celebration almost."

The World Cup, unlike any other sporting event, brings the world together. And with players from four continents on its roster, the Fuego, is living proof.

"Even though I might not speak Portuguese or whatever," said Gonzalez, "and they might not speak Spanish, you just communicate through soccer."

"In the field it doesn't matter what language you speak," said Cignetti. "You communicate by the game. It's just the passion that those players can bring."

"I'm ready for this World Cup to start," said Hedrick. "It's been too long. I feel like it's been way too long. So I'm really excited. Ready for it."

And in our Valley, even in our country, he won't be alone.

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