BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The World Cup Soccer Tournament began Thursday, and for the first time since 1986, Team USA didn't qualify for the event, which is being hosted by Russia this year.
For the Biloxi Indians, a Thursday evening match with Oak Grove is a chance to payback the Warriors for knocking them out of the playoffs last winter. It's part of high school's version of the World Cup, South Mississippi style.
"We have four groups of four teams in each group. It's kind of a rematch. We're excited about it. They put us out of the playoffs last year 4-2 in the second round," said Randall Molsbee, Biloxi's boys head soccer coach.
While Biloxi's players got ready for their own World Cup, they say the other World Cup going on in Russia doesn't have the same feel since team USA isn't in the mix.
"I'm a little disappointed in the U.S., but maybe I'll watch the finals and semi-finals," said Cade Ganey, Biloxi team member. "I'll watch that and see whatever country wins it."
Unfortunately, this year, it won't be Team USA.
"That definitely grows the sport here in the country and gets it exposed to a lot more kids," Molsbee added. "They get involved when we have our team do well in the World Cup. Stats have shown that. It's just disappointing the U.S. isn't in it this year."
Biloxi senior Spencer Hammond agrees.
"The U.S. not being in it is a big killer for me," said Hammond. "I think everyone else, too. The only reason I watch it is to see our team play."