Football, or “soccer,” according to the United States, has been a cultural phenomenon in countless households around the world.

From cheering to crying, people have deeply connected with their national football team for generations.

I've always been surrounded by football. From The Copa América to the FIFA World Cup, football has always felt like another family member living in my house.

Despite the attachment my loved ones and people around me had to this sport, I used to not pay enough attention to it.

According to me, it was just another popular sport — one I didn't find particularly entertaining.

Yet, I was continuously reminded of its cultural significance by the array of feelings it awakened in people from the most diverse backgrounds.

This football phenomenon made me imitate what I saw around me, and for years, I continued to cheer for my country or for my dad’s favorite team in the Premier League.

Yet, a new feeling of constant excitement emerged with the welcoming of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Since its debut in 1930, admirers around the world have patiently waited four lengthy years for this football party to take place once again.

From biting their nails to spending their entire bank account with the hope to see their team play on the big football field, the World Cup has transmitted a sense of hope to people in every corner of the globe — including me.

The FIFA World Cup has always been a celebration I've associated with my family.

But, if the World Cup is a synonym for family, how am I supposed to relish in this cultural celebration without them?

For the first time, I'm experiencing the World Cup in a different setting, as I live through a different yet special moment in my life — my first years in college.

Despite feeling as if the last four years drifted away, the previous football celebration took place during another chapter in my life, where my biggest concerns involved high school drama and inviting someone to prom.

As I log into my Peacock account every day for the last week, I subconsciously remind myself of how the next FIFA World Cup will be enjoyed by a 24-year-old Fernanda, one who will be leading a different life.

For the first time, I'm aware of how every FIFA World Cup will forever be tied to signature moments in my life.

Beyond the sentimental attachment I have with this FIFA World Cup, I've also learned to enjoy the game with its simplicities and intricacies.

Suddenly, I get excited for every match, rooting for a country I don't have any connection with and feel entertained by what once felt like an eternal 90-minute game.

To many, football players have been heroes, ones worthy of wearing a cape and rescuing a cat from a tall tree.

Yet, this fascination toward them didn’t click until I started to pay attention to their craft.

From learning to appreciate every assist to acknowledging the devotion fans have toward football players, I started to grasp how their impact goes beyond being athletes.

These football players ultimately become the face of their nations.

What they do on the field brings a sprinkle of hopefulness that distracts us from any troubles we might be running into.

The FIFA World Cup has given the world a new platform, as we get to see the world in a different limelight.

Every four years for over three weeks, we have the pleasure to leave negativity behind and enjoy cultural interactions fueled by passion and playful competition.

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