The soccer ball is rolling in New Meadowlands Stadium, as the future home of the New York Jets and New York Giants today announced it will host the first international sporting event between the Mexican National Team and the Ecuadorian National Team on May 7, 2010, allowing the early road to South Africa and the 2010 World Cup to pass through the New York/New Jersey region.
As Mexico prepares for participation in its 14th FIFA World Cup this summer, it will play in six cities across the country from Feb. 24–May 13, including the highly anticipated stop at New Meadowlands Stadium on May 7 with a 9 p.m. EST kickoff time. The announcement comes on the heels of the stadium being named one of the 18 potential host sites in U.S. Soccer's current bid to bring the World Cup to the United States in 2018 or 2022.
The game will mark Mexico's sixth appearance in East Rutherford since 2003, the last of which came on July 26, 2009, in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final against the United States, which as the last major international soccer match drew the venue's largest crowd for the sport with 79,156 attendees.
Ecuador last played at here on Aug. 12, 2009, against Jamaica. Since 2006 Ecuador has played one annual game in East Rutherford.
"The Meadowlands has served as a premier soccer destination for more than 30 years and we intend to carry that tradition to the new stadium," said Mark Lamping, president and CEO of the New Meadowlands Stadium Company. "This match, the first of many to come in the new stadium, helps kick-start our longstanding commitment to the sport."
The Meadowlands played host to many significant soccer moments, including the farewell match of Edson Arantes do Nascimento, more commonly known as Pelé, the game's greatest player, in 1977; quarterfinal and semifinal rounds of the 1994 FIFA World Cup; and the opening doubleheader of the 1999 Women's World Cup.
The New Meadowlands Stadium's ability to be "soccer-specific" was a priority throughout its construction process, with the goal being to host significant national and international soccer matches. About 90,000 square feet of thick-cut grass will be rolled out in 4x20-foot sections and placed on top of the permanent FieldTurf. Between the turf and the grass will be two protective layers of Geo textile filter fabric. These layers will act as a barrier protecting the permanent artificial turf from any debris that will migrate through but still allowing water to filter through each layer. The stadium's corner field seating will be removed to accommodate the proper field dimensions for corner kicks.
Upon completion in April, the New Meadowlands Stadium will boast a seating capacity of 82,500. Spectators of all sports will be treated to gameday experiences unlike any other and will have the ability to take in on-field action live and on four massive 30x118-foot HD video display boards located in each of the stadium corners.
Additional highlights include a 48"x2200' ribbon board that circles the interior bowl, adding color and energy to the already spirited atmosphere, more than 2,100 HD monitors placed throughout the stadium, and 20 HD video pylons outside the stadium ranging in size from 20"x40" to 20"x60."
Tickets will be available at a later date. Please check back on newmeadowlandsstadium.com for more information. Media accreditation for the May 7 match will be announced early next week.