Why am I giving away my seats for free?
I love soccer. I love the USA. I want the USA to love soccer.
Not that Americans don’t already love soccer. They do. A record number 160 million of us watched the 2010 World Cup. It’s true here in New York as well. Just ask the 80,000-plus people who turned up at the New Meadowlands to watch the US draw with Argentina on March 27.
Despite the obvious love for the sport, for years, we soccer fans in the New York area were out of luck for quality live soccer other than the occasional international match coming to town. We had no top flight soccer league from 1984 to 1996. Even after MLS started, it was tough to rally around the MetroStars, who played in a horrible venue, on turf that had football lines all over it. I still went to games, but something was definitely not right.
That all changed last year! We now have so many reasons to support pro soccer right in our own backyard. Seattle and Portland are nice places to visit, but there’s no reason they should set the standard for soccer support in America when we have so much more to offer the soccer fan right here in NY. I want to see Red Bull Arena packed to capacity every single week, starting with this Saturday’s match. The stronger we make our local market, the better off US soccer will be in the long run.
So, in the spirit of the Free Beer Movement (a fantastic idea, if I’ve ever heard one), I’m giving away my four fantastic seats in Section 125 to you, dear reader, so that you can see for yourself that we have top quality soccer here in New York right now!
So what’s so great about coming to a Red Bulls game?
Glad you asked.
The Ground: I don’t think there’s any doubt that we boast the nation’s top soccer stadium. If you are a soccer fan living in the New York metropolitan area and you have not been to Red Bull Arena, you owe it to yourself to pay a visit. Every time I set foot inside the stadium, I’m overcome with the pureness of the soccer experience that it provides.
The RBNY Nats: USMNT veterans Tim Howard and Jozy Altidore began their pro careers in New York, but if you want to watch them play for their present clubs, you better pack a suitcase, take some time off work, and fly to Europe. Luckily, you can watch Tim Ream and Juan Agudelo this weekend without a current passport.
The Supporters Groups: Singing, chanting, flares…. Supporters groups provide an atmosphere at a soccer match that is unlike any other sport. And we have three of the best here in New York.
The Blue Chips: If you haven’t heard by now that legendary striker Thierry Henry plays here in New York, nothing I say here is going to influence you. The guy is Arsenal’s all-time leading scorer. It’s worth a 20-minute PATH ride to watch him play. Achilles woes aside, he’s still got tons of class. Add in Rafa Marquez, Mexico’s national team captain and Henry’s former Barcelona teammate, and that’s two world-class players on the pitch on any given night.
The Team’s Form: The 2011 Red Bulls are probably the best MLS team ever assembled — definitely so “on paper.” The recent addition of perennial all-star Dwayne DeRosario to Henry, Marquez, Ream, Agudelo and a very solid supporting group of players makes this version of the team special. They play an attractive, possession style of soccer, which merely adds to the game day experience. I’m not promising a win on Saturday, but the Red Bulls did take their last two matches by a combined 7-0. Just saying.
Who is eligible for the tickets?
The tickets will go to the person who proposes the best way to use the seats to further the growth of U.S. soccer. I’m not asking you to build a soccer academy. Maybe you’ve been wanting to start a family tradition of going to soccer games with your dad, your brother, or your daughter, but haven’t had the opportunity to go until now? Maybe you have friends who are Knicks or Rangers fans that would make great candidates for US soccer fans? Be creative (but be honest) about how using the seats will make NY a stronger soccer town, and they’re yours!
Are you in? What do you need to do?
1. Follow me on twitter @stanchelney. (And, while your at it, follow @juanagudelo17 so he can win his twitter battle with Teal Bunbury.)
2. Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org between now and Friday morning at 11 am letting me know how you would use the seats to spread the word about the Red Bulls to new supporters. I’ll announce the winner and pass along the tickets on Friday afternoon.
And don’t worry, even if your entry is not selected, there are still good seats available for Saturday’s game here.
See you at Red Bull Arena and let’s go Red Bulls!