Ye Olde Alpha Is Place to Get Your World Cup Fix

Josh Strope Sports Editor

WHEELING — If you are as big of a soccer fan as I am, you are no doubt excited for the World Cup, which begins today with host Russia taking on Saudi Arabia.

The World Cup is the largest sporting event in the world and if you are looking to get your soccer fix, I have just the place for you.

The Ye Olde Alpha will be showcasing all the games from the opening kick until the final seconds tick off the clock July 15.

Ye Olde Alpha owner/general manager Charlie Schlegel can’t wait.

“We are watching all of them,” he said. “They will be on in the bar area, the dining room.

“We are really big soccer fans and I want to be able to see them wherever I go. I have to be able to watch it.

“This is just something we are very passionate about. We aren’t doing anything outrageous, but they will be on and we encourage everyone to come and watch with us.”

Schlegel said they have a wall chart in the dining room that features the schedule, as well as the results and the group standings, this way fans can keep up with their favorite team.

Their favorite team, at least if they have one right now.

While American soccer fans can rejoice about hosting the 2026 World Cup, they will have to watch as the United States sit out these games after failing to qualify.

Still, Schlegel doesn’t think that will make much of a difference.

“At least it won’t for me,” he said. “A lot of times, people will enjoy it more when you don’t have a dog in the fight. You can get through it without being too emotional or upset.

“Fans will find another team to get behind, there is always a good story. Me, personally, I am rooting for England. They a good, young team. They have traditionally disappointed in the World Cup, but they will be fun to watch.”

The games will be on during lunch time as most are played at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

According to Schlegel, even if you don’t care about soccer, if you watch enough of it, you get invested.

“In the beginning, I expect our regulars to be here and they will start to pay attention, just because it is on,” Schlegel said. “Once they start watching more and more games, they will get engaged and soon more and more people will hopefully come in and get excited about it.

“That is how it worked out for the Champions League final and we had a pretty good crowd.”

The Ye Olde Alpha opens at 11 a.m. every day, but Schlegel said he usually comes in around 7:30 a.m.

A couple weeks ago, he received a call asking if they were opening early for the Royal Wedding.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “But if someone wants to come in to watch soccer, I will open the doors early.”

With a loyal soccer community in the Ohio Valley, Schlegel feels patrons will be just as excited as if the Americans were playing.

I will admit that I have been a little disinterested since the United States failed to qualify, but after talking to Schlegel and hearing his enthusiasm, I am definitely planning to check out the atmosphere one day for lunch the next two weeks.

As for my prediction, you can never go wrong with Brazil.

Along with the Ye Olde Alpha, many other restaurants around Wheeling also plan on showing the games, such as TJ’s Sports Garden, Bubba’s Burghers, Quaker Steak and Lube, and Primanti Brothers.

Highlands Sports Complex

Speaking of soccer, I loved hearing that The Highlands will be building a sports complex. Among the features will be four indoor soccer fields and six basketball courts.

Now, basketball tournaments are held throughout the valley all through the year. But this is a chance for soccer to get a little love and help grow the sport during the off months when the weather doesn’t accommodate outside athletics.

This is a win-win for everyone involved.

Wheeling Post 1 Alumni Day

Wheeling Post 1 will hold its annual Alumni Day on Saturday in a doubleheader against Marietta. But this won’t just be any other Alumni Day.

Post 1 will hold a ceremony to honor former coach Mark Delbrugge between games, as well as his teams, including the three-time state champions from 2015-17.

Former players are asked to come early to register.

Josh Strope can be reached at jstrope@theintelligencer.net

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