In Asian Town, Workers Who Built the World Cup Gather to Watch It From Home
A dozen Asian-American construction workers recently came together to watch the 2018 World Cup in a home they share on the outskirts of the city they live on a quiet stretch of the Oregon coast, near the Columbia River.
With no television to distract them, they gathered around a television in their living room to watch the tournament’s second round match — a match that ended in a 5-3 loss to Portugal, but that was not the focus of their gathering.
It was just another day on the jobs for them, the men and women from Oregon, Texas, New York, Puerto Rico and other states along the West Coast whose families migrated from Asia during the Great Migration of the early 20th century.
Their shared love of soccer came first, as they watched the game together at their house in the Portland suburb of Gresham. There, they watched a team of Asian-Americans, led mostly by the Asian male players, win a match that sparked a chant of “Gangnam Style,” a viral YouTube video in which an Korean-American YouTube star dances on a table and sings.
Now, they watch it from their living room.
The men and women are from the Asian construction community, in one of the fastest-growing and highest-paying American industries.
But they also are a part of communities that are struggling with the effects of immigration from China and other places in Asia. The group includes a teacher, a construction laborer, a software programmer and an accountant.
Now, they are part of a movement that is helping to build a bridge between those communities and football in the United States.
The gathering at their home came on Sept. 24, the day of the first match of the tournament held between Portugal and the host nation, the United States, in Foxborough, Mass.
“Most of us work 12-hour days, we come home and watch football on our TVs,” said the construction laborer and software programmer, who declined to give his full name. “I came here two years ago, and I’ve watched every