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Global soccer events bring international attention to Southern Nevada

Allegiant
AP Photo/David Becker
/

Soccer fans cheer during the first half of the CONCACAF Gold Cup final soccer match at Allegiant Stadium Sunday, Aug. 1, 2021, in Las Vegas.

Whether you think “Fútbol is life!” as they say on the popular TV show "Ted Lasso," or you can’t understand why the score is always so low in soccer, the sport is attracting international attention in Southern Nevada.

This weekend, Chelsea Football Club takes on Mexico’s winningest team, Club America, at Allegiant Stadium.

And the next week after, Las Vegas will host the Soccer Champions Tour, when Juventus plays Club Deportivo Guadalajara, and FC Barcelona goes head-to-head with Real Madrid.

The venue is expecting loud, sell-out crowds of 60,000-plus fans starting this Saturday.

Las Vegas Review-Journal sports writer Adam Hill said it'll be a spectacle. 

There is a lot of intrigue, a lot of interest in these games for sure, but really it's a chance to see the greatest clubs in the world compete here in Las Vegas.

Hill said you don't have to be a soccer die-hard to check out the matches. The beauty of the sport is in its ability to surprise you at the very last second.

"One goal changes the complexion of the game completely. So at any moment you might think, nothing's really happening, but they're building up to a play. And all of a sudden, somebody makes a great pass ... and now this team that was trying to play defensively now has to actually try to play offensive," Hill said.

But what about homegrown soccer? Is this a soccer town do local support it? Brett Lashbrook might know the answer. He’s the owner and CEO of the Las Vegas Lights FC. 

“You take the world's most entertaining city and the world's most popular sport and 2.2 million people in a heavily Hispanic demographic, as well. And the number one youth participation sport for decades, I look at you and say, ‘Why wouldn't it work?’”

To see the games in person, Chelsea vs. Club America kicks off July 16.

Juventus vs. Club Deportivo Guadalajara takes place Friday, July 22, and Real Madrid vs. FC Barcelona is July 23.

All the matches are at Allegiant Stadium.

Brett Lashbrook, owner and CEO, Las Vegas Lights FC; Adam Hill, pro backup reporter, Las Vegas Review-Journal

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Mike has been a producer for State of Nevada since 2019. He produces — and occasionally hosts — segments covering entertainment, gaming & tourism, sports, health, Nevada’s marijuana industry, and other areas of Nevada life.
Lorraine Blanco Moss is the host of KNPR's award-winning Asian American Pacific Islander podcast, Exit Spring Mountain. She's also a producer for State of Nevada, specializing in food and hospitality, women's issues, and sports. She started at Nevada Public Radio in October 2021.