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Arizona United coach says World Cup is exciting time around the globe

PHOENIX -- It's a big sports day around the globe, as the World Cup soccer tournament gets underway in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Thursday.

"It's life and death for a lot of people, emotionally," said Michael Dellorusso, the head coach of the Arizona United Soccer Club. "It's a very exciting time around the world."

But just how popular is the World Cup?

"I like to compare it to the Super Bowl and how big people think that is here," Dellorusso said. "I would say the Super Bowl is about one-tenth of the World Cup, (regarding) what it means to people around the world."

There will be some great teams to watch during the World Cup.

"Brazil, Spain and Germany are probably the three favorites," said Dellorusso.

He said that Team USA has a chance for a good showing in the tournament.

"We have a great group of young guys and experienced guys," Dellorusso said. "We have two out of the top five teams in the world in our group, with Germany and Portugal. I think it's very important for us to get a result in the first game. Anything can happen from there on out."

Dellorusso said that some new soccer stars will become stars in this tournament.

"The best part about a World Cup is that it's when a lot of guys come out of their shell and a lot of new stars emerge," he said.

Dellorusso also added that you don't have to go all the way to Brazil to see some great soccer in person this week. At the Peoria Sports Complex on Saturday, the Arizona United will host Rochester and then next Wednesday, they'll host the L.A. Galaxy. To see their complete schedule, click here.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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