When heading up Route 83 on the way to South Dayton, it's hard to miss all the country flags on the left side of the road.
Every four years, Sam Conti hangs the flags of each country competing in the World Cup.
"I got the idea eight years ago," he said. "Starting on the east side is the A Group. You need four posts per group and there are groups A-H. This year I had to get four more flags because four different teams qualified."
OBSERVER?Photo by Craig Harvey
Sam Conti hangs flags of countries competing in the World Cup?Soccer tournament. During the tournament’s semifinals and championship games, all the flags will be on display.
Conti puts up the flags every morning and takes them down at night. Every country's flag will be hanging during the semifinals and the championship game.
"The first day, I was worried about accidents because so many cars honk and slow down," Conti said. "They drive by and glance. People stop and tell me how glad they are to see them. It's a sense of community. One guy stopped and asked if it was a United Nations thing."
Conti was the boys soccer coach at Fredonia during the 1980s and 1990s, and was the girls coach in the early 2000s.
"It's a beautiful game," he said. "The more you get into the game, the more you understand why the rest of the world is so passionate about it. Every other country, but the USA and Canada, this is their identity. We have American football, basketball and baseball. Canada has hockey."
With Buffalo's canalside holding events with several other cities around the country during USA games, Conti hopes the excitement level seen over the last two weeks for the sport can grow.
"I started playing in 1972," he continued. "There was a lot excitement for the sport then and it died off. There was a lot of excitement for the World Cup in 1994 and it died off. I hope this is sustained interest. There are lot more Major League Soccer teams getting successful and making it financially. Academy teams are starting off all over the country for talented youngsters. We are behind the 8 ball. In 1994, they said by 2020, US would be the world's premier soccer country. And we are not there yet."
And though Conti does not have cable, he sure is up to date on World Cup rankings.
"There has been a lot of good games," he said. "There has only been a couple blow outs and a couple scoreless ties. Costa Rica and Columbia have surprised everyone and that's a good thing. I like to see the underdog do well.
"It's a shame we couldn't take three points from Portugal, but that's the nature of the sport. You can't relax for a second," he continued. "USA has a good chance. (We) have a positive one goal differential and Ghana has a negative one. If Ghana wins by one and USA loses by two, Ghana would advance over the USA."
And when the World Cup is over with, Conti won't have to wait four more years, as he will do the same thing when the women's World Cup takes place in 2016.