Gillette Stadium as Patriots fans know it, can host almost 67,000 people. All these people are a familiar sight on Sundays during the NFL regular season, but during the MLS season, the Revolution average only 17,000 fans on gameday.
The United States seems to only get excited about soccer when the US Women’s National Team is winning a World Cup, or when the Men’s Team is impossibly advancing out of the group stages in international tournaments. The latter occured this past week, when the US Men won their group, and earned a right to battle Ecuador for a spot in the semifinals later this week.
However, what New England soccer fans are really excited about is the high quality of soccer that Robert Kraft is bringing to Massachusetts. While attendance may not seem to be high, this tournament has a chance to be among the most highly attended in Copa America history. The US venues are averaging 40,488 fans per game (Boston.com) which sits well above the attendance average in Chile last year, which was 25,227.
This is exciting because these figures would indicate a rise in interest in soccer throughout the US, which is something that the culture of soccer in this country desperately needs if the United States is to ever become truly competitive on the global stage. Perhaps if higher-profile games and tournaments become more of a mainstay on US soil, then this is an opportunity for the United States to make more of an impact on the game.
In addition to the two group stage games, Gillette will also host a quarterfinal matchup that will most likely pit Argentina against Venezuela (June 18th, 7 pm). For those interested, tickets start at around $90.