LINCOLN SQUARE — Keeping up with which teams are still in the running to win the men’s World Cup is as easy as passing by Scott Fecho’s house.
The 42-year-old hung national flags along his fence for each of the teams competing in the World Cup. He takes them down as the teams lose and exit the tournament, which is progressing to the single-elimination phase.
Fecho launched the flag display — which his neighbors have come to rely on — shortly after moving to the 2100 block of Leland Avenue in 2010. It’s a tradition he brings out every few years to celebrate the men’s and women’s World Cup.
Neighborhood bars have even used photos of Fecho’s house to advertise World Cup watch parties in past years, he said.
“I just find it fun,” Fecho said. “I’m always impressed with the amount of neighbors who tell me they enjoy seeing them out. Every time, it always surprises me.”
This is the first year Fecho has hung his flags during the group stage of the tournament instead of waiting until teams are narrowed down for Round 16, which starts Friday.
“By Friday morning, I’ll be reducing it down to 16 flags, and those will be hung in order of how the games are played until there’s one flag left remaining,” Fecho said.
Fecho grew up playing soccer until he graduated from high school, but he didn’t start paying attention to the World Cup until he was in college.
“I would’ve been a better soccer player if it’d been televised more when I was younger, just because I would’ve been able to learn from the games what do to in different situations,” Fecho said.
As he’s gotten older, he’s noticed more people taking interest in soccer and local bars offering more viewing parties to accommodate fans. He said he isn’t rooting for any particular team, but he enjoys watching the games and sharing the excitement with others who love the sport.
“It’s interesting to see how crowded the bars get for the games now,” Fecho said. “I know people say that soccer or football, whatever you call it, isn’t as big in the U.S., but in your major cities, it is. I think there’s a much bigger soccer culture than people realize.”
The World Cup champion will hoist the trophy — and the last flag will be displayed on Fecho’s house — Dec. 18.
Listen to “It’s All Good: A Block Club Chicago Podcast”: