Soccer Comes To Citi As Mets Host Match

Michael Gianaris

June 02, 2011

Queens Tribune wrote about my participation in Mets press conference on the Greece-Ecuador soccer game.

Queens will host the national soccer teams of two of its biggest ethnic groups on June 7, when Greece faces off against Ecuador in an international friendly match at Citi Field.

About 25,000 tickets have already been sold for the Tuesday night match.

"National pride will be in abundance," said Mets Executive Vice President of Business Operations Dave Howard.

The foray into soccer is a long-anticipated one for the Mets organization. Despite having fallen on hard times, hosting the world's sport has always been the Mets' intention, according to Howard.

"We want to use Citi Field all year round," he said.

The match will present a number of firsts for the new stadium, but Howard said it certainly will not be the last time a soccer game is played at Citi Field. The Mets are currently exploring hosting another friendly game between two major club teams, as well as a Major League Soccer franchise.

Speculation has swarmed around the latter point, with signs pointing to a return of the New York Cosmos. Howard said he did not meet with that club specifically, and should the Mets secure MLS's next expansion team, they will have to find them a "soccer specific" facility to call home, according to Howard.

Which is all well and good for Citi Field's grounds crew. Transforming a diamond to a soccer pitch encompasses a massive amount of work, according to Mets Director of Field Operations Bill Deacon.

Read the full article here.