Courtesy: America East Communications

AE Student-Athletes Weigh-In on 2014 World Cup

Release: 06/12/2014

With the 2014 World Cup beginning on Thursday, June 12, we asked some of our men's & women's soccer student-athletes to give us a team and player they are excited to watch. Check out what they had to say:

Eric Chajon, UMass Lowell

Ghana: A handball and two missed PKs (one in regular time, and one in the shootout) away from being World Cup semi-finalists, are bringing back a solid core and experience to this World Cup. I'm excited to see the raucous they can cause in a group filled with talent in a powerhouse/favorite like Germany, a flashy Portugal, and the underdog Yankees in the USA. Despite bringing back all the experience they still manage to have one of the youngest teams, on average, in the Cup. With players returning like Asamoah Gyan, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Sulley Muntari, Jonathan Mensah, and the Ayew brothers (Andre and Jordan), this is the team to watch. They could go pound-for-pound and give some of these teams a good run for their money. 

Neymar: Cliche but, he's home. 22 years young and won the Most Valuable Player at last year's Confederation's Cup while tallying 4 goals (one of them being a free kick that stunned Gianluigi Buffon). "Joga Bonito" comes back to life with his playing style and is just part of the environment the Brazilian culture brings to this World Cup. Neymar will only feed off the environment and elevate his game. If there's a World Cup where he will shine, it's on his home soil this summer.

Adam Mooi, UMass Lowell

For the team and player I am excited to watch is the Netherlands and Jonathan de Guzman. My grandparents immigrated from the Netherlands during WWII, so because I have a dutch background I am always hoping they will do well! I am also very excited Jonathan de Guzman will get a chance to play in the World Cup (even though he will not be able to participate in their opening game due to injury). Not only does de Guzman play the same position as I do, he plays on Swansea City, my favorite team, and he was born in Canada, where I currently live.

Lee Manchio, Binghamton

I think Brazil will win the World Cup as they are the host country with a lot of pride. I am most excited to see them play as they have a lot of skillful players. The team is full of young talent ready to make an impact in the greatest stage of soccer. Brazil has always been a top country to watch but this year is much more important as they have home field advantage. Neymar is the team's leader and I think he will be able to deal with the pressure and succeed. He has such great passion for his home country that echoes in the way he plays on the field. It is remarkable the things he can do in such difficult situations. Also, he sets up players which demonstrates his awareness of the field. This World Cup is shaping up to be a true test of between the worlds’ greatest teams. I'm extremely excited to watch the top players compete in the top stage of soccer.

Malcolm Harris, UMBC

I think the player to watch this tournament will be Neymar. his ability on the ball will cause other teams trouble.