Teams from Ecuador, Greece set to kick off soccer tradition at Citi Field

Michael Gianaris

May 31, 2011

New York Daily News wrote about the Mets press conference Senator Gianaris participated in along with Assemblyman Moya and Mr. Met to promote the Greece-Ecuador soccer game on June 7 at Citi Field.

Ecuador and Greece will square off in the first-ever soccer match at Citi Field next week, and a second game isn't far behind.

Two "major" international soccer clubs will play each other sometime this summer, Mets officials said.

David Howard, executive vice president of business operations for the Mets, said team officials have been looking for ways to expand the use of Citi Field, and decided soccer is the way to go.

"We'd like to do it on a regular basis. We're going to try and fit in as many as we can," he said Friday.

Soccer fans can expect a showdown between a European team and a Central American team this summer, Howard said.

Turning the baseball diamond into a soccer field is part of the team's business model and has nothing to do with the financial woes of the cash-strapped Mets, Howard said.

"Citi Field is a popular destination. This is just part of the general business structure," he said.

So far, 20,000 tickets for the June 7 Ecuador vs. Greece match have been sold, said Mets officials, who expect a sellout by game time.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) and Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights) have been tapped as honorary team captains for the match. Gianaris, a Greek American, and Moya, an Ecuadoran American, have more than bragging rights at stake.

If Ecuador wins, Gianaris gets a plate of empanadas, courtesy of Moya. If Greece wins, Moya gets a plate of baklava from Gianaris.

Gianaris, who predicts a 3-1 Greek victory, said this game will boost morale in both communities.

"This is an opportunity for everyone to come together. There's a lot of excitement about it," Gianaris said.

Read the full article here.