SANTA CLARA -- Soccer was the first love of 49ers safety Eric Reid, so it's no surprising he's rooting hard for the United States to advance Thursday in the World Cup.
"They can make it through, and hopefully they keep playing great," Reid said Wednesday in a phone interview while promoting Gatorade's "Beat The Heat" hydration campaign.
Before becoming the star safety that earned Pro Bowl honors as a 49ers rookie last year, Reid's grew up a soccer fan in Geismar, La. He started playing at age 6 alongside his two younger brothers, one of whom, Ryan, is a University of Maryland sophomore forward.
"It's funny, you'll probably find me more often watching soccer than a football game, because I get enough football in my daily schedule," Reid said. "It's really exciting for me and my brothers to watch the World Cup."
Reid stopped playing soccer upon entering ninth grade (Dutchtown High-Geismar). A 2013 first-round draft pick out of LSU, Reid started every game last season and was the 49ers' lone representative at the Pro Bowl (eight other 49ers skipped the game with injuries).
Reid will be watching on television Thursday when the United States seeks a win or tie against Germany to advance out of the World Cup's group stage.
"I'm definitely supporting them," said Reid, admiring how Clint Dempsey is playing with a broken nose "and sucking it up for the team."
Reid admittedly doesn't follow soccer as closely as he did as a youth but he's paid more attention since the 49ers finished their offseason program last Thursday.
"We lost a great player in (forward Jozy) Altidore to injury, but hopefully we can get him back to make a push in the next round," Reid added.
Reid's push Wednesday was to promote Gatorade, and he praised the company's efforts in teaching proper hydration to youth players.
"Being from Louisiana, I'm very familiar with the heat and what it can do to you if you don't take care of your body," Reid noted. "I'm happy to team up with (Gatorade) and let kids know how important it is to hydrate, especially during the summer."
For Reid, that meant taking water breaks in his days as a youth soccer player.