Getting a game that counts has always bee on the “to do” list for the city of Jacksonville when it comes to USA Soccer and that will happen for the first time in 2016. Mayor Lenny Curry as well as sports executives from the Jaguars, the Armada and SMG will make the announcement tomorrow morning.
As part of the World Cup qualifying, Jacksonville will host the game on September 6th between the USA and Trinidad and Tobago. It’s the final game of semi-final qualifying and could have huge implications regarding who has a chance to play at the World Cup in Russia in 2018.
In their last two appearances in “friendlies” at the stadium Team USA has attracted over 44,000 against Scotland in 2012 and over 53,000 vs. Nigeria two years later. One of the roadblocks to hosting an official qualifier is distance from the corners of the pitch to the stands, not enough to satisfy international soccer specifications. That will be one of the issues addressed at tomorrow’s press conference.
For the first time in more than 30 years, USA lost to Guatemala last week 2-0 to put the red, white and blue’s chances to qualify at risk. They’ll have a chance to get back on track in the second game of that match tomorrow night in Columbus, OH.
A rich soccer history, dating back to the Tea Men of the NASL in the early ’80’s has allowed Jacksonville to host Team USA as a training base in the ’90’s, recent friendlies and the return of the NASL with the Armada last year.
Tomorrow’s announcement is scheduled at 10AM at the stadium.