NATAL, Brazil -- Gulliver High students might have noticed a pair of familiar faces on the field during the flag ceremony before the United States’ game against Ghana on Monday night.
Brothers Alexander and Christopher Joch were selected to carry the American flag into the stadium and during the anthems as part of a global Coca-Cola promotion. Alexander, 16, and Christopher, 14, spent 14 hours having a World Cup experience that will make them the envy of all their friends back home.
The boys, who traveled to Brazil with their father, Fred, got to spend the day at the stadium, get a behind-the-scenes tour and help prepare the locker rooms and training sessions for the two teams.
They were the only U.S. kids in the group.
“The energy in the stadium when we walked in was unbelievable,” Alexander said. “I felt I was part of the most important event ever.”
Said Christopher: “I felt happy, excited and proud like I was playing in the World Cup.”
When they weren’t at the stadium, the Joch brothers surfed at Natal’s Ponte Negra beach.
The USA-Ghana game Monday draw a national TV rating of 7.0 on ESPN, the second-highest rating ever for a U.S. World Cup group-stage match. The only one that drew more was the 2010 U.S.-England match, which got a 7.5 on ABC. In Miami, more fans watched USA-Ghana on Univision than ESPN, which was also the case in Los Angeles and Dallas. During the match, the Spanish network was the highest-rated station among total viewers in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Houston, Dallas, San Francisco, Phoenix and Sacramento.