Jacksonville, FL - Soccer fever continues to take hold on the First Coast.
“We want to see how big of a record we can set,” says Jacksonville’s Interim Sports and Entertainment Director Joel Lamp.
As of early Thursday, well over 44,000 tickets had been sold to Saturday’s US Men’s National Team soccer game against Nigeria at EverBank Field. When Jacksonville last hosted the Men’s team in 2012, the 44,000+ attendance was considered a Southeastern record for a friendly match.
Lamp is confident we will surpass that record by gametime.
“Soccer fans around the country are coming to Jacksonville to see their team and their final tune-up and get a good taste of what it’s going to be in Brazil,” Lamp says.
Saturday’s game is the last USMNT will play before heading to Brazil for the World Cup. Lamp says that’s bringing international attention and an international crowd to the First Coast.
“This game really has a far reaching impact,” he says.
While it’s too early to pinpoint the economic impact the game will have, Lamp believes it will be significant. This game is coupled with this weekend’s Powerboat racing event on the St. Johns as well, which is free of charge and therefore expected to also draw a crowd.
“Those are huge opportunities that allow us to showcase Jacksonville,” Lamp says.
He hopes to make the powerboat race an annual event, and says Jacksonville will also continue to court US Soccer.
“We’ll see them again. When, is hard to say,” he says.
If you’re heading to Saturday’s game, it begins at 6 PM at EverBank Field. Be sure to send your photos to WOKV News on Twitter.