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Houston Filmmakers and Actors: Another historic event coming to city

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Another historic event coming to city

Jan. 9, 2005, 12:54AM

SOCCER NOTEBOOK
Another historic event coming to city
Four of Mexico's best teams to meet in what will be a soccer fiesta
By GLENN DAVIS
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle


This Wednesday at Reliant Stadium, Houston hosts another historic sporting event involving four of Mexico's best soccer clubs.

The winners of the two games in the Interliga finals will join an already qualified Club Pachuca in representing Mexico at the prestigious Copa Libertadores, which crowns a champion of South America.

The night will be a soccer fiesta, with outstanding quality of play, international stars and colorful fans.

The entertainment value and intrigue will be there, but this event holds a key to marketing Houston nationally and internationally as a soccer city.

The city also will stand to benefit economically in a variety of ways.

Lone Star Sports and Entertainment, which is partnering with Soccer United Marketing to put on the event, knows this is more than a soccer match.

Lone Star Sports and Entertainment head Jamey Rootes put together an impressive Interliga committee that includes business leaders and City Council members such as Carol Alvarado and Adrian Garcia to help ensure the success of the event.

"It means a great deal to Lone Star Sports and our committee to have this backing. To see the city embrace this like other championships is phenomenal," said David Brady, event manager for Lone Star Sports and Entertainment.

Alvarado and Garcia have the ability to bring business leaders and community members together in support of the Interliga.

"It shows that the U.S. Hispanic market is willing and able to support significant events like this with Mexican league teams," Alvarado said. "This is like a Super Bowl event in the community. If we do a good job this year, it increases our chances to host the Interliga on a permanent basis in the future."

With teams, media and fans descending on Houston for the finals, the economic benefits will be reaped by area hotels, restaurants and merchants.

"The business community sees this as an enormous opportunity to not only support the event but reach soccer fans, (who are) a growing segment of the population," Brady said.

All involved want visitors to have a memorable experience, and that includes the teams.

"The teams will have a world-class experience in Houston the minute they touch down," Brady said.

Rootes knows that successful events like the Interliga finals can go a long way toward one day hosting more matches of importance, such as World Cup qualifiers or the Gold Cup.

Who knows? There might one day be a World Cup final in Reliant Stadium.


Attendance elsewhere
Attendance at other venues during the Interliga preliminary rounds included 15,078 in Phoenix; 23,102 in pouring rain at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.; and 14,622 this past Wednesday in San Jose, Calif., where fans saw 13 goals in two games that included Tigres defeating Santos 4-3 behind three goals from Javier Saavedra and Atlante and Chivas drawing 3-3 on the smaller Spartan Stadium field. ... Chivas used third-choice goalkeeper Sergio Garcia after an injury to Mexican national team goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez in San Jose. Backup Alfredo Talavera was slated to start but was rushed to the hospital after an allergic reaction after a flu shot. ... Sebastian Gonzalez of Atlante was suspended for three games by the Mexican Soccer Federation after getting red-carded in the team's opening 2-1 loss to Tigres last Sunday at the Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix for dousing a linesman with water. ... Today's Soccer Hour with Glenn Davis (5 p.m., KPFT, 90.1 FM) features new Colorado Rapids head coach Fernando Clavijo. Also, tune in at noon Wednesday for a special Interliga edition of The Soccer Hour with Glenn Davis that includes guests, team breakdowns and ticket giveaways.

Thumbs up
To all youth groups who plan on attending Interliga matches this Wednesday. If we want Houston to continue to be a soccer destination, we must walk the walk and attend. Getting youth in this environment will help with their appreciation and passion for the sport and help make them better players.

Red card
To those who call the Interliga finals strictly a Hispanic event. Sure, the teams are all from Mexico and might appeal more to Hispanics, but this is about quality soccer. This event is not exclusive to any soccer fans, male or female.

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