LOS GATOS (KPIX 5) — If the World Cup makes its way back to the Bay Area, the Town of Los Gatos would welcome back the crowds that visited the town in 1994.
“I don’t think we had ever seen anything so joyous,” said Janice Bastiani.READ MORE: KPIX Reporters Remember Slain Security Guard Kevin Nishita; 'Just the Kindest Man'
The Villa Felice Lodge is gone now, replaced by luxury housing. But in 1994, it was the team hotel for World Cup Champions Brazil and their loyal legion of fans who followed them into town, onto the streets and right into the Willow Street Pizza place.
“It was a zoo, but it was really fun,” said owner Ed Rathmann.
World Cup Memories: Brazil fans party in Los Gatos to the beat of the samba in 1994
Rathmann still keeps pictures of the streets and the crowds and Brazil team jerseys on his restaurant walls.
“The Brazilians sort of adopted us as their home base to hang out in and eat and drink,” said Rathmann. “And it put us on the map.”
It’s the kind of economic impact that’s hard to measure from an event like the World Cup. But Rathmann and the pizza place are still going strong.
And as the Bay Area makes a new bid for the World Cup 2026, folks in Los Gatos say bring it all back.MORE NEWS: Burlingame Shoppers Show Up for Small Business Saturday
“Oh my Gosh, please come back! Please come back,” said Madalen Closson. “We’d love to have you. It’s a world of energy and we could all use that right now.”