Since many of them consider their city and themselves the center of the universe, it would make sense for New York and its residents to conduct their own World Cup.
The New York City World Cup gives soccer enthusiasts a chance to play in an international sport without ever leaving Riverside Park in Manhattan. In organizing the local tournament, Paul Ribadeneira figured his pick-up soccer league would feed on its players' enthusiasm for the sport and its grandest event. The players are mostly intermediate to advanced players, having grown up playing the sport.
''New York has a fascination with the World Cup,'' said Ribadeneira. "We are on a yearly basis, and it gives us what I would call a little fix until the next World Cup so we don't have to wait another four years."
The New York tourney started with 16 teams and has grown to 20, with more than 200 players choosing which team they want to play for. The teams represent countries from all over the world. The 2012 tournament has been played every weekend since June 30 and has reached the semfinal stage, in which Chile will play France and Italy meets Ivory Coast on Saturday. The final is Sunday. The winning team's captain gets a trophy. The players each receive a medal and the bragging title of ''World Cup'' champions.