Richland man vies for free trip to World Cup

By Geoff Folsom, Tri-City HeraldJuly 7, 2013 

While the U.S. men's national soccer team is still attempting to qualify for next year's World Cup in Brazil, a Richland man is trying to get a free trip there as well.

Bill Kinner, 66, is one of eight people left in a national contest in which soccer fans appear in videos explaining why they should serve as correspondents during the World Cup. The Vietnam War veteran filmed the video while attending the national team's World Cup qualifier last month in Seattle.

"He's been a huge soccer fan and a huge supporter of our country," said Kinner's son, James Kinner, catering manager at Country Gentleman restaurant in Kennewick.

Bill Kinner said he was passing a kiosk promoting a Castrol Motor Oil contest before the US-Panama match at CenturyLink Field, when a worker asked him to come in and make a minute-long video about why he should serve as a "correspondent" next year in Brazil.

So he made the impromptu video, explaining that he's been passionate about soccer for 25 years. He had two sons grow up playing the sport and his wife coached soccer. He discussed his love of foreign clubs, Everton and Roma, and, particularly, the U.S. national team. He's followed most of the team's players throughout their careers.

"I promise you, that if I go to Brazil, I will be a top-notch correspondent, who is engaged and involved all the way," he said in the video.

Bill Kinner's video was one of eight selected in the Castrol contest. Castrol spokeswoman Tara Mullins said hundreds were submitted, while others were recorded at matches in Seattle and Washington, D.C.

A fan vote will narrow the selections to four. The contestants will be interviewed by phone, with the winner selected by a panel of judges. The winner will be announced around Aug. 1.

The winner of the contest will go to the national team's matches against Mexico on Sept. 10 in Columbus, Ohio, and against Jamaica on Oct. 11 in Kansas City, Mo., Mullins said. If the U.S. makes it to the World Cup, the winner would get to attend the team's matches in Brazil as a correspondent.

"They will blog, tweet and kind of just share their experience with all of their fellow fans for each game," she said.

Bill Kinner said he will learn social media, if selected, though he hasn't been involved with Twitter and blogging sites.

"I will take a crash course," he said. "My kids are pretty good at it."

Going to the World Cup would fulfill a dream for Bill Kinner.

"Just to go there and represent the United States national team as a correspondent would be a tremendous honor," he told the Herald.

Online: Voting in the contest runs through July 15. Click here to see Bill Kinner's video and vote.

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