The World Cup is the biggest sporting event in the world, and the excitement of the 2018 tournament has not been lost on locals.

Even without the United States qualifying for this year’s event, it has been especially exhilarating for the local soccer community.

After all, the area is flush with boys and girls recreation teams, travel squads, numerous talented players and coaches and some of the best high school teams in the state.

Two local high school soccer coaches who have been following the World Cup closely are Vandebilt Catholic girls coach Phil Amedee and Houma Christian School boys coach Damon Daigle.

Amedee and the Lady Terriers were one of the most dominating team in the state this season and placed runner-up in Division III and Daigle and the Warriors had a stellar campaign and made the second round of the Division IV playoffs.

Amedee said he continues to be in awe of the level of playing and coaching that comes along with the World Cup every four years.

“It has really been an exciting World Cup, especially with a lot of the favorites being knocked out early,” Amedee said. “The exciting plays and great defense on both ends have been awesome and you can’t take anything for granted. They have such great athletes and such great coaching. These coaches make great adjustments. For the people who are really tuned it, you notice those minor adjustment and the tactical approach teams take. They know their strengths and weaknesses and play to them. Some people may not find that exciting, but the coaches are doing that they need to do to put their teams in the position to win the game.”

Daigle said he has even used the World Cup as a teaching tool for his players.

“The World Cup has been great,” Daigle said. “Many of our players have watched most of the games. At our summer workouts, the coaching staff has asked questions about when to pass and when to shoot and things like counter attacking and the advantages of playing wide. We are using the World Cup as a learning tool for our players so that come the winter, our decision-making skills are improved.” 

The Warriors coaching staff and players have been so into the tourney, Daigle took a team poll about who will win Sunday’s World Cup final between Croatia and France.

The results looked like this: 58 percent picked France, 25 percent picked Croatia and 17 percent said it was too close to call.

The Warriors, and everyone else, in the world will find out who was right on Sunday.