RALEIGH — N.C. State fans will have to wait until Sept. 3 for the Wolfpack to kick off the football season. About five weeks earlier, however, Raleigh will get a taste of international "futbol" at N.C. State's Carter-Finley Stadium.
The 57,583-seat stadium will host a July 28 exhibition match between a pair of soccer clubs with strong international followings: Italian soccer power Juventus and the Mexican club C.D. Guadalajara.
The game was arranged as part of the 2011 World Football Challenge organized by Major League Soccer and CAA Sports.
The friendly is part of this summer's World Football Challenge series of North American matches played between clubs from Major League Soccer, England's Premier League, Italy's Serie A, Spain's La Liga, Mexico's Primera División, and Portugal's Primeira Liga.
"We've done a lot of work in the Triangle; there's a strong soccer tradition here," said Charlie Stillitano, a senior executive of CAA Sports. "We've been looking to bring an international game down to (the Triangle), and we thought this was a great opportunity."
Both clubs have storied legacies in their respective countries.
Juventus has won the league title for Serie A, Italy's premier professional league, a record 27 times. Five members of Italy's 2006 World Cup championship team still play for the club.
Guadalajara, also known as Chivas, has won the most titles (11) in the Mexican Primera División.
"Raleigh has come up as a market for future events for a while," said Will Wilson, executive vice president for U.S. Soccer marketing. "This is a good market to showcase, and this is a high, high quality international game."
Members of the Triangle soccer community anticipate that the high-profile exhibition match will cast a spotlight on the area as a hotbed for the sport.
"Hopefully, this is the beginning of being able to have big events come to town that are over the capacity of WakeMed Soccer Park," said Charlie Slagle, CEO of Capital Area Soccer League (CASL). "It's great for people around the area to have the chance to see that kind of crowd atmosphere. ... I'm expecting a great, active crowd."
In a statement released by N.C. State, new Wolfpack men's soccer coach Kelly Findley said the university couldn't be more excited to host "two high level, quality teams here."
"The opportunity to host this type of event here at N.C. State is an opportunity I am happy our administration took advantage of," Findley said.
Tickets are scheduled to go on sale at 10 a.m. today, according to worldfootballchallenge.com, and are expected to range in price from $25-$150.
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