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A general view of Marlins Park before a game between the Miami Marlins and the San Diego Padres on Friday, July 27.
Marlins Park, home to Miami baseball, will soon be a stage for soccer athletes and fans during the inaugural Miami Soccer Challenge in 2013.
“This is a community that’s combined with so many different nationalities from all over the world,” said Miami-Dade Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz. “We are a true melting pot, and when we talk about fútbol, or soccer, we talk about part of our heritage, part of us.”
In January, world soccer giants will face off at Marlins Park in the unprecedented sporting event.
“Football unites people across the globe, and the Miami Soccer Challenge will bring together the world’s leading clubs from Europe and South America for a festival of soccer that will be seen by packed stadiums and by millions of viewers around the world,” said Stuart Webb, President of Global Football Challenge, which has successful partnerships all over the world.
Sean Flynn of the Miami Marlins told NBC 6 that the stadium is an ideal venue for the challenge.
“Weather is an issue, especially in South Florida with our volatile weather, so our retractable roof provides an opportunity to bring in whatever event it may be – a soccer match or a tradeshow – and control the environment,” Flynn said.
The ballpark and the Global Football Challenge made a three-year agreement to house the Miami Soccer Challenge at Marlins Park. Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado said the event will have a positive impact on the city.
“It would put Miami again on the map, and it’s a win-win for the City of Miami,” Regalado said. “Not only it will bring people to hotels and restaurants, but it would bring a ‘feel good’ sentiment.”
Webb said it would bring excitement to the city.
“It’s an ideal venue, and I think it’s going to be exciting not only for the Marlins for the stadium, but also for the fans,” he said.