Top Soccer Teams Coming to Stanford
June 16, 2009
STANFORD, Calif. - Another chapter in Stanford's rich international soccer tradition will be written July 19 when recently-crowned Italian champion Inter Milan takes on Mexico's Club America at Stanford Stadium, with kickoff set for 4 p.m.
The match is part of the inaugural World Football Challenge, a four-team round robin men's tournament that will be held in six cities across the United States this summer.
The match is another indication that, upon completion of its 2006 renovation, Stanford Stadium has regained its status as a premier soccer facility. Matches played on the turf over the years include the men's and women's World Cups, the Olympic Games, World Cup qualifiers and international exhibitions, and an NCAA men's final.
Ten years ago, the greatest crowd in the history of women's soccer up to that time gathered at Stanford for the Women's World Cup semifinal between the United States and Brazil. Goalkeeper Brianna Scurry protected an early U.S. lead with a series of breathtaking saves to send the Americans to the final with a 2-0 victory before 73,123 on July 4, 1999, at Stanford Stadium.
Fifteen years ago, Stanford hosted six men's World Cup matches, including a quarterfinal. Action featured eventual champion Brazil's 1-0 victory over the U.S. on July 4, 1994, before 84,147 in the round of 16, and a World Cup-record five-goal performance by Russia's Oleg Salenko against Cameroon.
Even without the international flavor, Stanford's soccer tradition runs deep. Intercollegiate men's soccer has been played at Stanford for nearly 100 years and adjacent Laird Q. Cagan Stadium has been the site of 21 Stanford women's NCAA tournament matches since 1990.
This will be the second appearance at Stanford for Club America, which lost to English power Chelsea, 2-1, in the first international match in the renovated Stanford Stadium, on July 14, 2007.
For Inter Milan (25-4-9, 84 points), this will be its first match since capturing the Serie A title by crushing runners-up Juventus and AC Milan by 10 points in the standings, scoring a league-high 70 goals and surrendering a league-low 32.
F.C. Internazionale, as it is officially known, is led by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored 25 goals in Serie A play. Ibrahimovic is a Swedish striker who is nicknamed 'Ibracadabra' for his 'magical' play and is one of the highest paid players in the world.
Among Inter's other big name players are France's Patrick Vieira, Argentina's Hernan Crespo, and Italian defender Marco Materazzi.
Club America is one of Mexico's traditional powers and regarded as one of the richest clubs in the world outside Europe. America is a 14-time league champion and finished third in its group during the recently-concluded Mexican Clausura season and did not make the playoffs.
Other matches in the World Football Challenge will be Chelsea FC of England vs. Inter Milan at the Rose Bowl on July 21; AC Milan of Italy vs. Club America at the Georgia Dome on July 22; AC Milan vs. Chelsea at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md., on July 24; AC Milan vs. Inter Milan at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. on July 26; and Chelsea FC vs. Club America at Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on July 26.
Individual tickets for the Inter Milan-Club America match, and the others, are on sale at www.worldfootballchallenge.com. Tickets can also be purchased by calling 1-866-331-2123. Prices range from $30-$125.
For the July 19 match at Stanford, group tickets for the Stanford Stadium match can be purchased by calling 1-800-STANFORD or (650) 723-9850. There are discounts of $4 each for purchases of 20 or more tickets.
Sunday, July 19
Club America vs. Inter Milan at Stanford Stadium
4 p.m. on ESPN2