soccer

Copa America, fans arrive in Arlington

Each match is expected to attract tens of thousands of people

NBC Universal, Inc.

Copa America, one of the biggest soccer events in the world, is underway and Arlington is at the center of the action.

Team USA plays Bolivia this weekend at AT&T Stadium but first, Chile takes on Peru and fans are ready for matchday.

Before any big soccer match, it’s tradition for fans to wave flags and sing outside their team's hotel.

In Dallas, fans did just that steps from where team Peru is staying. In Fort Worth, there was a serenade from fans of team Chile.

The rival countries collide Friday night for the first of three Copa America games at AT&T Stadium. The tournament every four years features 16 teams who will play in 14 U.S. cities.

Each match should draw tens of thousands of people

At La Cantuta Peruvian Flavor, a restaurant in Arlington, there were fans in town from as far away as California.

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“The U.S, I mean, you guys are known for football, baseball and having the Copa America here is a huge thing and for Peruvian fans who live here in the U.S, it’s even bigger,” said Renato Goulden, a Peruvian native who now lives in California.

The restaurant expects hundreds of fans for a watch party on Friday.

Owner Jhon Rojas and his wife Lana are prepared with Peru jerseys and plenty of food and say they’d savor every second of a win.

“That would be amazing. I will give food for free,” said Jhon Rojas.

Team USA plays Bolivia on Sunday at 5 p.m. Watch parties are planned across north Texas.

Arlington will host a semi-final match on July 5. Police shared recommendations for fans attending games.

The Copa final is next month in Miami.

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