The word has spread very quickly and the images are outstanding. The scenes at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ when Famed Brazilian side Santos FC came over to christen this brand new stadium made for the American game and our league. After a three goals to one friendly victory over Santos it seems that many clubs outside the USA wants to set foot inside this new cathedral of football.
There are a couple of dates already signed after the European season ends, before the World Cup begins and before the next European season starts. During the US National Team’s farewell tour Turkey & the Czech Republic will fly over to play our National Team and a match at Red Bull Arena against each other on Saturday, May 22nd. A Sunday Afternoon tilt on May 23rd as Serie A side Juventus will be making a stop for a quick match after the UEFA Champions League Final.
And of course there is the brand new New York Football Challenge from July 22nd thru July 25th. So far the two sides from the English Premiership coming over will be Manchester City & Tottenham Hotspurs, also scheduled from Portugal is Sporting Lisbon will face the New York Red Bulls. How great it will be to see these top clubs and two National Teams from Europe gracing their presence to play at this new stadium here in the USA.
Even thought these are the matches that have already been scheduled there have been many rumors of other clubs coming over or wanting to come over to play the Red Bulls and feeling the atmosphere at Red Bull Arena. As historic as Giants Stadium had been throughout the years for both the NFL & for football, this brand new stadium has easily taken over as the major destination for clubs visiting the USA and New York City.
Now personally all I care about for our league and all the clubs within all levels of US Club Football is that each and every side gets their own stadium and stops paying rent to facilities that they have no control over. To make this game great and one day to mirror what goes on in Europe, all sides need their own grounds to make money and control the revenue all the time.
But while everyone is celebrating this wonderful stadium that is called Red Bull Arena, maybe I should give you an update of what’s going on with Giants Stadium. Yes they did build a brand new, bigger NFL Stadium as the owners of the NY Giants & NY Jets shared the costs to create it. But the old girl already has a hole the size of the Grand Canyon. All the seats have been removed and for the first time from the outside of the stadium you can see inside of it.
Even though I am happy that this club has finally left Giants Stadium and plays their matches at Red Bull Arena. In a certain way it is a bit sad to see the old girl go down. There has been so much history at Giants Stadium with the New York Cosmos and those old time players like Pele, Werner Roth, Shep Messing, Franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia and many others who played during the original NASL days. The birth of Major League Soccer brought players from the 1994 US World Cup team to play for or against the MetroStars. Former Metro players and those that wore the Red Bulls shirts like Tony Meola, Giovanni Savarese, Tab Ramos, Clint Mathis, Tim Howard, Mike Ammann, Amado Guevara, Roberto Donadoni, Lothar Mattehaus and so on.
Yes there is a bit of a soft spot in my heart to see Giants Stadium coming down. But honestly, thank goodness that Red Bull Arena is here and will be the best stadium for the game in the USA.