BALTIMORE (WJZ)—If you’re a soccer fan in the area, there’s some great news. Another big international match is heading to Baltimore.
Ron Matz reports soccer lovers are pumped up for the showdown coming to M&T Bank Stadium.
Baltimore loves its soccer. Tommy Wall played for the Baltimore Bays and says the game continues to grow.
“I grew up in Highlandtown,” said the Baltimore soccer legend. “It’s a hotbed of soccer. That’s where it all started. Along the way, I started coaching. The year I played against Santos of Brazil, I got the opportunity to play against Pele. That same summer I was coaching the St. Elizabeth’s team, which won the national championship in Dallas, Texas.”
“We were playing soccer,” Wall continued. “Now we’re all parents and grandparents and all the kids are playing, so it’s really blossomed. It’s not just Highlandtown now. It’s Perry Hall. It’s out in Harford County. It’s all over now.”
More than 100,000 fans flocked to two previous matches at M&T Bank Stadium. On Saturday, July 28, Tottenham and Liverpool come to Charm City.
“Tottenham and Liverpool, it’s going to be a very good match. I watch soccer all the time. It’s a good sport,” said Ken Crowley, soccer fan.
Legendary goalkeeper Lincoln Phillips says Liverpool is one of the best.
“They have a fantastic history. They have won more European titles than any other English professional team,” he said.
And the competition will be fierce.
“Normally when there is a ‘friendly’ folks have a tendency to take it easy,” Phillips said. “This game is not a ‘friendly.’ It’s the first time two English professional league teams are playing outside of England. These two teams have two new coaches, and they have everything to prove.”
Phillips says the old Baltimore Bays helped put soccer on the map in Baltimore.
“I came to Baltimore in 1968. When the Baltimore Bays came to town soccer just took off. We really do need to have another professional team here again, but in lieu of that we have these professional games,” Phillips said.
The third international match in four years has local fans buzzing.
“We just finished watching the Euro Cup. Spain won and it was pretty cool,” said Lillian Crowley, of Canton. “I don’t know all the names and everything the way my husband does, but I enjoy it. It’s a fast-moving game. I like it a lot. All the guys are athletic, strong and handsome.”
Baltimore will be in the international spotlight. The game will be televised here and in England.
“It’s going to be a hard-fought and well-played game. It’s going to be very, very competitive and folks are going to be in for a treat,” Phillips said.
The Saturday, July 28 match will begin at 1 p.m. For ticket information, click here.