Detroit school students get a lesson in World Cup spirit

Detroit school students get a lesson in World Cup spirit

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DETROIT (WJBK) -- For Miriam Banda this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. A faceoff with what's known as "The Ball." It bounced its way into a southwest Detroit school on Thursday as part of a brief layover in its long and colorful journey.

"A lot of people's names are on it. I want to sign it," said Banda, a fourth grader.

"It's like the Olympic torch for the World Cup. It symbolizes unity for the country and the world," said Jeannine Gant, executive director at Playworks.

Students at Detroit's Academy of the Americas got to see and sign the ball all while learning the rules of soccer. Over 11,000 people will write on it before its trek is through. This is its only Michigan stop making the moment even sweeter.

"The World Cup isn't huge around Detroit but these kids know all about it," said Detroit City Councilwoman Raquel Castaneda-Lopez. "They know which teams are playing Mexico so this is huge for them."

The day was a huge score for students and organizers a like. And that' s really the goal of this 30-stop tour,  spreading smiles and soccer excitement from continent to continent.

The ball will head to Mexico next on the North American part of its trip. If all goes as planned it will end up in Brazil on June 6 for the World Cup final.

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