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Cole Pepper: U.S. Start World Cup Play, Armada Names First Head Coach, Kaymer Wins U.S. Open

US Soccer

After their final friendly in Jacksonville, the U.S. begins their 2014 World Cup run tonight in Brazil. Cole Pepper checks that stats, and gives an update on the Jaguars, in his First Coast Connect weekly sports wrap.

U.S. v. Ghana in Brazil

The U.S. opens their World Cup play in Brazil against Ghana, the team that has beaten the U.S. the past two tournaments.

There are a number of watch parties set up around town, the biggest being at Jacksonville Landing where the Jacksonville Armada are holding the first of three watch parties for the U.S. games. That party starts at 5 p.m. tonight. Admission is free.

Looking ahead with the Armada

Speaking of the Armada, they named their new coach last week, Jose Luis Villareal. He's from Argentina and has know the Armada GM Daria Sala for years.

There are a number of questions to be answered about the Armada. One of the questions I hear a lot around town is how good of a league they'll be playing in; this will give you an indication.

Over the weekend, the U.S. Open Cup was being contested. It's a tournament with teams from all over the country, amateur and professional. Three games included teams from the MLS vs. NASL teams.

The NASL took all three. To be fair, there were a few MLS starters who were unavailable because they were playing in the World Cup for their national teams, but it shows you the quality of the NASL as the Armada get set to join.

Credit Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars getting ready for the season

Now, the other kind of football. The Jaguars wrapped up Organized Team Activities (OTA's) Friday, but instead of practicing on the field, Gus Bradley took the guys for a team building exercise at Latitude 30.

A little bowling, some video games and a chance to have a conversation in a different environment.

The Jaguars will be on the field this week for their Mini-Camp, then they won't be back on the field together until training camp begins in late July.

Kaymer wins U.S. Open

Finally, hats off to Martin Kaymer, who last month won the Players Championship on Mother's Day.

Yesterday, on Father's Day, he won the U.S. Open. Pretty good run for Kaymer, who once was the No. 1 ranked player in the world. Also, a great story for the runner up.

Although Kaymer blew away the field (he finished 8 strokes ahead of second place), one of the guys who tied for second is Erik Compton. The 34-year-old enjoyed the best tournament of his professional career. Pretty impressive for a guy who had two heart transplants.

You can follow Melissa Ross on Twitter @MelissainJax and Cole Pepper @ColePepper.

Melissa Ross joined WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. During her career as a television and radio news anchor and reporter, Melissa has won four regional Emmys for news and feature reporting.