Men's soccer exhibition coming to KSU
by William Bretherton
wbretherton@mdjonline.com
October 22, 2010 12:00 AM | 888 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ATLANTA - Having already hosted its first women's international exhibition, KSU Soccer Stadium will get the chance to host its first men's game.

The facility will host the national teams of Guatemala and Guyana on Nov. 17 in the first game of the El Patron International Series. It's what's been hailed as the first of several international frendlies coming to Kennesaw.

"First, we wanted to reach out to the entire soccer community, which has many different layers because it's the world's game," said Scott Spencer, the director of special events for the stadium's primary tenant, the Atlanta Beat. "So, beyond the Atlanta Beat. we wanted to reach out to multiple communities and wanted to be the home of high-level soccer of all kinds."

KSU?Soccer Stadium was the host of an exhibition between the women's national teams of the United States on?China on Oct. 2 and has been awarded the 2011 Women's College?Cup.

"We essentially put together a plan of international professional matches that would reach different target demographics. That's where the idea came for a series of matches."

For Guatemala, it will be its first trip to the United States since June 2009 and its first trip to the Atlanta area since '05. Guyana will be making its first trip to the States.

On the surface, it would seem that there is little to no connection between these two countries to the local community, but appearances aren't always what they seem.

According to Beatriz Illescas, the Consul General of Guatemala, the number of Guatemalans in the Atlanta area is between 20,000 and 30,000, many of who are passionate for their national sport of soccer.

"You have to live in a country like ours to understand how without great effort people get together to see (soccer)," Illescas said. "Even though we haven't achieved as much as success as we deserve, because of the effort we have given, the followers never leave the team."

According to Austin Thompson Jr., who serves as the vice president of the Guyana Association of Georgia, the Guyanese community around Atlanta is estimated at between 10,000 and 12,000 people.

The Beat, in partnership with ClearChannel's El Patron 105.3 FM radio station, will attempt to market the game to local soccer clubs and soccer aficionados alike.

"We're connecting with essentially all the youth soccer associations and clubs for the event, getting out there meeting them and letting them know about the opportunities of the match," Spencer said. "Also, when we get the schedule, we will have an open training session where the kids and interested people can come see high-level teams train and get ready for games."
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