Every four years, the World Cup pushes soccer to the forefront of the American sports conversation.
But in many places around the world, the sport known as 'The Beautiful Game' is always the center of attention.
In just a couple weeks, two local athletes will see that first hand as part of a global soccer tournament in Spain.
"I'm super excited because it's like a whole new experience that I've never had before," said Iola 8th-grader Alyssa Tap.
Tap and Leah Wolfe will experience the passion of 630 soccer teams from 34 countries when they represent Wisconsin International in next month's Donosti Cup.
It's something the two players are looking forward to for several reasons.
"Seeing a different part of the world and how they act and stuff, and seeing all the players from the other countries and how they play soccer," said Wolfe.
Wolfe will be a freshman at Lakeland Union high school in the fall while Tap will be a freshman at Iola-Scandinavia.
But they currently play for MC United in Wausau, which is how Wisconsin International discovered them.
"They did come and watch our team play last summer and they went ahead and picked both of these players to go to Spain," said MC United Co-Head Coach Brian Pinter.
Their coaches with MC-United say they're ability on the field is impressive, but not their only quality.
"They're never slacking off. They're always working hard, and I think leading by example is extremely important at this age, and both of them do that extremely well," said MC United Co-Head Coach Brittanie Pinter.
Part of that hard work is the travel.
Both athletes and their families travel to Wausau for MC-United practices and all the way to Madison or Fond du Lac for Wisconsin International practices.
"We drive an hour and fifteen minutes to get [to Wausau] three days a week for practice," said Wolfe.
"A lot of us can't make it sometimes so we have to cancel and reschedule but it works," said Tap.
Now that hard work and traveling time will give Wolfe and Tap a trip they'll likely never forget.
Their coaches are hoping they'll bring some of that passion for soccer back to MC-United with them.
"I think it's going to be a really cool experience for them to see that different culture and see how excited people get about soccer, and hopefully we can bring some of that back," said Brittanie Pinter.
The 27th annual Donosti Cup will be San Sabastian Spain from July 1 to July 7.
Wolfe, Tap and the rest of their team will also get to travel to France during their trip.
RHINELANDER - It's easy to slip on ice, skid on roads, or get stuck in the snow.
One thing that also happens is joint pain from common winter activities.
Shoveling heavy snow is one of the biggest problems Rhinelander Chiropractor Dr. Tony Lowenberg sees causing this pain.
He said shoveling is a physical activity that can cause excessive stress on the body; especially for people who don't lift heavy often.
"Lifting and the twisting creates wear and tear on their body. Then [people] feel it as pain and then their muscles get tight because they are not used to lifting stuff," said Dr. Lowenberg. "It's more people that are not used a physical job, shoveling can be [troublesome]."
RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander student made it onto her school bus and to class unhurt last Tuesday, but she almost didn't. A recent close call left Bowen Bus Service employees wondering if Rhinelander will be the next to see a student killed while simply trying to get to and from school.
On Hwy 8 last week a student was nearly hit by a truck at her bus stop, leaving the bus driver in disbelief. In a surveillance video from the bus, you can hear the bus driver say "That car like just missed you. That truck just missed her."
TOMAHAWK - After a bitterly cold November, road crews in Tomahawk enjoyed a warm up on Monday. But temperatures shifting above and below freezing this week will create perfect conditions for a lot more work. John Cole is the Director of Public Works for the City of Tomahawk. He says that pothole issues are something that his crew fights all season long.
"It's job security, it's not a good job security, but it is job security for sure because you always have potholes to fill," said Cole. "When you get that expansion and contraction, we get water in those cracks, and when you get the traffic and people driving on them."
In Tomahawk, Cole sends crews out every week to look for potholes and fill them. He also sends out crews whenever they get a call about a bad pothole.
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