Thursday, July 29, 2010

Culture shock inside the Georgia Dome

Posted By on Thu, Jul 29, 2010 at 2:51 PM

Club America fans came out in droves last night
  • Alejandro A. Leal
  • Club America fans came out in droves last night

The scene inside and outside of the Georgia Dome last night was unique, to say the least.

As the more than 33,000 fans poured into the home of American football for the Aaron's International Soccer Challenge on Wednesday night, it was blatantly clear that something different was taking place inside of Atlanta's largest sporting facility.

Fans wearing wrestling masks and waving Mexican flags waited outside the Dome entrance more than two hours before kickoff between Club America—Mexico's most popular soccer squad—and English Premier League power, Manchester City.

Unfortunately, the fervor and enthusiasm stemming from the largely Hispanic crowd wasn't quite enough to counteract the overall disappointing fan turnout—which was far less than the 50,000-plus that showed up for last year's match between A.C. Milan and Club America.

For a city vying for the 2018 or 2022 World Cup, Atlanta needed a strong showing from local fans last night in order to demonstrate the community's support of hosting international soccer competition.

But the amount of empty seats was simply too great to suggest anything other than the city's collective passivity towards soccer.

Despite the incessant drumbeats and vuvuzela whines during last night's match—won by Manchester City in penalties—it appears that Atlanta has a long way to go before it can truly be called, in the words of Mayor Kasim Reed, "a soccer town".

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Club América vs. Manchester City

Club América vs. Manchester City

Over 33,000 soccer fans witnessed world-class soccer at the Aaron's International Soccer Challenge, with two of the more recognized club teams in Europe and Latin America.

By Alejandro A. Leal

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