Turning GDA fans into World Cup watchers

- It's been a month of soccer here on Fox 5. Many of you have loved it. Some of you not so much.  But, I'm a World Cup super fan and I was convinced I could make a fan out of our Good Day Atlanta Facebook page friends.

This is how it started. Tina MCrary, an avid contributor to our Good Day Atlanta Facebook page asked, "My goodness when is this World Cup going to be over?" The thread provided some good-natured fun.  Some agreed, many didn't.

But then this happened; I challenged the naysayers to a watch a match with me. And they took me up on it. On the Good Day Atlanta Facebook page we followed the action together. It worked out so well, I was ready for a little in-house watch party. But, let's go to the beginning.

World Cup 2018 plucked the competitor in many of us - even in the Fox 5 newsroom, namely the England-Colombia match up.  

And this enthusiasm spilled over onto the Good Day Atlanta Facebook fan page. Fox 5 viewer Priscilla Sanders typing in that the "ref keeps calling some crazy stuff." First time soccer watcher Josie Long understood quickly how dangerous free kicks can be.  "As if this game isn't vulnerable enough," she wrote.  

In the end, we all had a great time. (English fans more than the Colombians though.)

But, now that I thought I'd turned some folks not so warm on soccer into potential fans, I thought an in-house watch party might seal the deal. And big time viewer and GDA fan Josie Long decided she was game to watch a sport she knew nothing about a few days earlier.  

She dropped by the studio.

"Wow! This is amazing," she said.

This 22-year-old from Cumming met her favorite morning faces. She chatted it up with Fox 5 reporter Paul Milliken.

Paul: You know you make our day every morning.
Josie: You guys make my day.
Paul: No, no, you make our day.

She got gold medal hugs from Fox 5 traffic reporter Katie Beasley.

"Josie, Josie, Josie," she said throwing her arms around one of her biggest fans.

After a quick tour, we headed to the green room to get ready for the semifinal match-up between England and Croatia. And live on the noon news she invited our viewers to join in online.

"Getting to hang out with the Good Day Atlanta crew and the other GDA fans."

Josie grabbed the English flag; I was happy to be Croatian for a day. Fox 5 evening anchor Russ Spencer, a soccer fan himself, settled into the spot where we usually gab about Hot Topics. But today, the hot topic was World Cup 2018.

"Were you a soccer fan before Dana invited you to come to this," Russ asked her?  "No, sir, I was not." 

Big screen on. Feet up. Snacks at hand, it was just two girls enjoying the international sport that has the world buzzing every four years.  And my plan to make her a fan was working.

The match had its ups....

"Ohhhh, that was beautiful," could be heard after a sweet tackle.

Its downs.

"Oh, no," after one too many missed goals.

And some dead-on sideline commentary by a new fan.

"Get up! Oh, get up," Josie said, quickly getting the sense that some players who don't grab the World Cup title could win an Oscar.

It was a surprise ending. Croatian is going to the World Cup final for the first time.  

And Josie, a first time fan, is along for the ride.

"Wow what a game."


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