CHIVAS GUADALAJARA AND SWANSEA CITY A.F.C. PROFESSIONAL SOCCER MATCH AT MILLER PARK LESS THAN THREE WEEKS AWAY
“Futbol Fever” is spreading across the globe as the World Cup matches heat up; and this year, support is especially fervent in America as the U.S. Men’s National Team advances to the knockout stage.
We’re very excited to cheer on USMNT again next week, and with that, we’re especially excited that, this year of all years, we’ll be hosting the first-ever professional soccer match at Miller Park, giving fans a chance to watch the sport, at one of its highest levels, in person.
On Wednesday July 16, we’ll host popular Mexican soccer club C.D. Guadalajara, affectionately known throughout the world as Chivas, and Swansea City A.F.C of the English Premier League. Presented by Miller Lite, the event is part of the Chivas’ annual U.S. Tour, which includes four matches against some of the best teams from top soccer nations – Brazil, England, Germany and Mexico
One of the most historic and successful clubs in Mexico, Chivas has captured 11 First Division titles in Liga MX and has raised two Copa México trophies. Additionally, the 108-year-old team is the only club in Mexico to exclusively field Mexican players, a concept that has made Chivas a steady contributor of players to the Mexican National Team. Standout players include Omar Bravo, Jesus Aldo DeNigris and Rafa Marquez Lugo. The team is managed by Carlos Bustos.
Established in 1912, Swansea City became the first Welsh team to play in the English Premier League after earning promotion in 2011. In 2013 they won the Football League Cup Final, which earned them a spot in the 2013-2014 UEFA Europa League. Swansea finished in 12th place in the EPL in the 2013-14 season and is led by Manager Garry Monk.
To preview this event, we held a press conference at Miller Park today with Chivas, who was represented by World Cup legend and current Chivas Sporting Director Juan Francisco “Paco” Palencia. From the Brewers end, Paco was joined by Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger, Vice President – Brewers Enterprises Jason Hartlund and Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo.
“We’re very excited to talk about this great match, with what’s going on in the World Cup and the excitement in the United States. Since the U.S. has advanced to the round of 16, I think the level of interest in soccer locally and nationally is probably the highest it’s ever been,” said Rick Schlesinger.
Jason Hartlund noted that his group, Brewers Enterprises, which is responsible for non-game day events at the ballpark, has been trying to secure a match of this nature for the past two years. Finally, this year, the baseball schedule coincided with that of Chivas’ tour.
“Whether it’s an international soccer match, or concerts, or a religious convention, which we had last weekend, Miller Park is clearly more than just baseball, so we are always looking to have new and exciting events,” Jason said.
Paco, who Rick referred to analogously as either the Robin Yount or the Paul Molitor of Mexican soccer, spoke next. “We are very excited to come here and play the first-ever soccer match at Miller Park,” he said.
“We have to thank all the fans who are supporting the event…we take (the match) very seriously because it is a huge event for us.”
Paco mentioned that when he was a child, he was a baseball fan and had started to play the sport along with soccer; however, he decided to continue on with soccer.
Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo, who is from Mexico, had the opposite experience. Like Paco, he grew up a fan of both sports and had played them both through high school, when he had to decision. Fortunately for Brewers fans, he chose baseball, but he still follows soccer closely.
“It’s pretty exciting for all of us. Hopefully we have the support from everyone in Milwaukee and show both of these teams the love that everyone has for soccer here in Milwaukee…. It takes a lot of talent for those guys to go out there and run for 90 minutes and do what they do with the soccer ball. I have a lot of respect for those guys and it is going to be an exciting game,” he said.
“I enjoy watching games, especially an event like this whenever i have the opportunity to be there live, and watch a game….If I’m able to do it, I’ll be there,” Yovani said.
The Brewers presented Paco was with his own jersey and in turn, Rick, Jason and Yovani received Chivas jerseys as well.
Paco will also throw out the honorary first pitch later that evening when the Brewers take on the Colorado Rockies.
“I’ve never been in a professional stadium before,” Paco said. “Maybe Yovani can warm be up a little before the game.”
Following the conference, Paco and Yovani went out onto the field, or pitch, depending on how you look at it, to have a little fun and Yovani and Paco did get to toss both a baseball and a soccer ball around together:
Tickets are still available for this unique event, which is less than three weeks away. Prices range from $25 – $70 and parking is $20 in advance and $25 on the day of the match. Tickets are available online at brewers.com/soccer, in person at the Miller Park Box Office, and by phone at (414) 902-4000.
The pitch will be laid out in an east-west orientation with one goal in left field and the other goal near first base (see below). The match will start at 8 p.m. and the gates to Miller Park will open at 6:30 p.m. Parking lots will open at 5 p.m.
You can watch scenes from the press conference here:
8pm CT Update: Check out Paco’s pitch here: