Soccer Exhibition a Chance To Showcase Edwards

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A large turnout filled the bleachers of Edwards Stadium Sunday to watch an international soccer game between the Atlas of Guadalajara and the Monarchs of Morelia.

Unfortunately, plastic trumpets provided more entertainment for the fans than the actual game. The heckling crowd in the bleachers seemed livelier than the players on the field.

The preseason match featured sloppy and slow play from both teams, each missing a number of scoring opportunities. In the end, Guadalajara defeated Morelia 1-0.

The event gave passionate Mexican Premier Division soccer fans a rare chance to watch a live game.

It was also a great opportunity for Cal to promote Goldman Field at Edwards Stadium, which was completely renovated and refurbished in 1999.

"The game wasn't incredible, but it was great having a couple foreign teams here and seeing a different style of play," Cal women's soccer coach Kevin Boyd said. "We've never had a professional game at this field before."

Boyd sees hosting such events as not only a way to increase exposure of Cal soccer, but also as a great way to raise revenue for the facility. General admission tickets were sold for $30.

"I think they should have more soccer games here at Edwards," said former Cal women's soccer player Shanon McNab, who came with friends to watch Sunday's game. "It's a great field to play on and a nice venue to watch a game. But I think more people would come if tickets weren't so expensive."

Cal events staff was told to expect close to 10,000 people at the game. To prepare for such attendance, organizers of the event took precautions by hiring extra staff and supplying parking garages. A large police presence was also clearly visible around the stadium.

Though not as many as originally expected, over 2,000 fans did come to watch the game.

Staff/Ian Buchanan
A lucky soccer fan at Sunday's exhibition game at Edwards Stadium gets an autograph from one of the players.

The lone goal came less than 30 minutes into the match. The Atlas' Jose Luis Calderon took a cross from the right side and tapped the ball under Morelia goalie Moises Muñoz, who misjudged the pass and strayed too far from the net.

Atlas goalie Armando Navarrete secured the shutout with a few nice saves on the day. Morelia controlled play for most of the game but could not get the ball past Navarrete.

In the second half, Morelia bounced a shot off the post on a rebound of a free kick from 25 yards out. Minutes earlier an Atlas player had also hit the post, when he headed a pass from a penalty kick.

The biggest mistake of the game came late in the first half after Morelia was awarded a penalty kick when Hernan Bujan was taken down close to the goal. José Antonio Noriega took the penalty kick for the Monarchs but shanked it wide left.

All told, the event ran smoothly for the organizing staff. Coordinators suggest that other large-attendance soccer games, such as national collegiate tournaments, may be held at Edwards Stadium in the future.


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