Words by Sydney MacDonald
Strolling past Rockefeller Center this past weekend, it was hard to ignore the chants echoing from the makeshift soccer field in the center of NYC. Soccer fans were packed together to watch New Yorkers go toe-to-toe with professional football players from all over the world, and to participate in the first ever twenty-four hour soccer marathon.
The event was hosted from 4pm Friday to 4pm on Saturday by the New York City Football Club as a precursor to the Club’s opening home game on Sunday, March 11th against the LA Galaxy. In an effort to bring together the city that never sleeps, over 500 individuals registered online for the opportunity to play in the marathon game alongside a handful of soccer’s most admired players and coaches.
“I get to play in front of the people that I watch on T.V. so that’s pretty awesome,” New Yorker Nick Squitieri said on his anticipation for playing in Friday’s game.
With notable players on the field such as David Villa from the Spanish National team, Alexander Ring from the Finnish National team, and NYCFC’s current coach and former French National team member, Patrick Vieira, the excitement was palpable.
Although players rotated every twenty to thirty minutes in each five-on-five game, eager fans weren’t complaining about their opportunity to turn from spectators to star player.
“I think it brings our friends closer and I think it’s a nice little pick up game to play at Rockefeller center in the middle of New York,” Professional soccer player Alexander Ring said.
Few things can bring a city together like the excitement of a friendly competition. The New York City Football Club was widely successful in their attempt to join all walks of life during their twenty-four hour marathon, resulting in what will surely be remembered as one of the iconic moments in NYC soccer history.
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