Excitement around the 2014 FIFA World Cup is spreading across northwestern Ontario, including players on Thunder Bay Chill, the city’s local soccer team.

The Chill's roster includes players from many countries that are represented at the international tournament.

Defender-midfielder Stuart Van Doten is from The Netherlands.

Stuart Van Doten

"In Holland, the number one sport is football," says Thunder Bay chill defender-midfielder Stuart Van Doten. "So every four years we wait for the World Cup ... it's pretty exciting at the moment." (Thunder Bay Chill)

He said soccer is the number one sport in his country, and the national team draws a lot of attention.

“Back home, it's crazy right now,” Van Doten said. “The streets are all orange right now.  Everybody's waiting for the match against Spain, but the team this year is not that good. We have a lot of young players, but the spirit is still positive.”

Van Doten said he hopes to watch that first game against Spain Friday afternoon, before the Chill play Friday evening.

Cheering for Italy

Defender Nolan Intermoia hails from the United States, but was born in — and cheers for — Italy.

"I was born and lived in Italy for seven years of my life, and I grew up being an Italian fan and I'll probably much stay an Italian football fan,” he said.

Nolan Intermoia

Thunder Bay Chill defender Nolan Intermoia says he hopes his home team of Italy goes "all the way," at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. (Thunder Bay Chill)

“We have all those nationalities on the team, so it gets pretty heated in the locker room. [It’s] all jokes … of course, but still, one represents each other's countries very well.”

Intermoia noted Italy's first game this weekend coincides with a Chill match against Des Moines. And, despite his interest around the World Cup, Intermoia said his focus will be on the Thunder Bay team.

CBC's FIFA World Cup App is now available for iOS and Android. Go to the iTunes app store for the iPhone or iPad app, or visit the Google Play store for the android app.

Click here for live game streaming, up-to-date schedules and the latest news and stories from Brazil.