MAINE, Maine — It's been an eight-year wait, but the United States men's soccer team is back in the World Cup this fall.
The Americans face off against Wales in the team's first game of the group stage round Monday afternoon at 2 p.m.
“[USA has] been getting better and better, it’s just an exciting time to have soccer in the limelight," Gabe Hoffman-Johnson said.
Hoffman-Johnson is the man behind the effort to bring a United Soccer League team to Portland. As the final plans wait to be approved, the group is helping organize multiple watch parties around Portland for the World Cup matches.
“It’s a cool opportunity for us to engage with people who maybe aren’t the most hearty soccer fans, but are sort of aware of the growth of this game in our country," he added.
The big event in store lines up with America's toughest test in the group stage. USA takes on England Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. and 'USL To Portland' is hosting an outdoor watch party in Portland's Monument Square.
Hoffman-Johnson said he hopes the success of that event will help grow the soccer community in Portland and lead to similar events for other big matches,
As for the professional soccer team coming to Maine, Hoffman-Johnson said the group is excited to make an announcement very soon.
There will be watch parties nearly every day around Maine's largest city. Portland Old Port put together a list of all the restaurants, bars, and pubs taking part.