Christian Pulisic, who scored the first goal in the match, is Varela’s favorite American player.
“I love Pulisic and the crop of these new young guys,” he said. “It’s so cool that we have this young team with a lot of swagger and technical ability coming up.”
Beyond the USMNT, Lionel Messi is his favorite performer.
“I mean, with Argentinian blood, I obviously love Messi,” Varela said. “I remember watching him on TV when he was at Barcelona. I would pretty much watch every game, especially when I was first really starting to take soccer seriously. He would do something incredible every game that just made me scream out loud even if I was alone at home.”
Varela and his Barra colleagues have plenty of work ahead of them as they expand from coast to coast. Although the group is still in its infancy, their focus in expanding around the West Coast and the South has gained traction. Varela hopes to increase representation in the Midwest, too. The good news is that there’s plenty of interest from fans around the country.
“We do have people that have reached out to us about starting new chapters, and we’re really careful about who we start chapters with,” he said. “We want to start a really strong foundation and make sure they have the resources and knowledge to build a chapter from the ground up. There’s definitely going to be some expansion pretty soon.”
If the USMNT qualifies for Qatar 2022, Varela hopes to see some of Barra 76 make the trip. For those on home soil, the supporters group would rally support from afar with watch parties in cities across the country.
With an eye towards the future of Barra 76, Varela’s anticipation is already building for the 2026 World Cup, which will be co-hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico. Growing the group requires patience, but he has big plans for what will be the first 48-team World Cup tournament.
“2026 is a year that all of us have marked on our calendars,” Varela said. “We’re going to rent buses, buy vans and travel across the country to follow the team. It’s something I look forward to.”
As the USMNT prepares to round out its World Cup Qualifying campaign in early 2022 following the team’s December friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina in Southern California, Barra 76 will continue its work to expand and welcome fans of any background who look to support the National Teams.
To learn more about Barra 76 or to sign up to be a member, visit www.barra76.com.