EDINBURG - If there’s anything else as popular in the Rio Grande Valley as Friday Night Football, it’s soccer. Whether it be professional, little league, high school or club, there’s no doubt that some, if not most, Valley natives live and breathe the famous international sport. Which is why soccer fans will be happy to hear that on Sept. 8, HEB park will be hosting a double header game: RGV Toros vs. Real Monarchs from Salt Lake City, Utah, and UANL Tigres vs. Atlas de Guadalajara.
The merge happened after the Rio Grande Valley FC (RGVFC) noticed a huge amount of support during their three previous games featuring professional soccer teams from the Liga MX, all of which sold out. It was unlike any other home game with United Soccer League (USL) or Major League Soccer (MLS) teams, and according to RGVFC Director of Booking and Marketing, Yajaira Flores, the reason for it is simple.
“Here in the Rio Grande Valley, you have more of a fan base that follow the Mexican national teams than the MLS,” Flores said. “What that means to us is being able to bring the biggest leagues with the biggest fan base.”
This is the second time the UANL Tigres will be playing in the Valley. Their last visit was in October of last year for a friendly game against Tiburones Rojos de Veracruz. It was then did previous RGVFC president, Bert Garcia, note the outstanding crowd and energy. Now, they’re back by popular demand, only this time with a bit of a twist as they are scheduled to play right before the Torros and Monarchs game.
Yet, aside from exciting fans and reeling in more support, one of the main focuses of this special event is exposure.
The Toros are going into their third season, and their stadium is already well known for its first class amenities. Flores also noted that the Rio Grande Valley is the highest performing market for these Mexican teams, which are currently on a Texas tour, and has sold more tickets than bigger areas such as Houston and San Antonio. This not only helps brand RGVFC, but the entire community as well.
“All of these events have helped put the Rio Grande Valley on the map,” Flores said. “I think that’s a very important thing to be able to be known as a soccer destination.”
With this upcoming event, as well as the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Championship in October, the Valley will surely become a top soccer area within no time. Until then, Flores and the rest of RGVFC are hoping for another sold out game come September, and continue to plan a bright future for soccer fans in the Valley.
Tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. and are $40 each. One ticket allows access to both games. Fans can also check the HEB park or RGVFC website for more ticket information.