On Wednesday, Yankee Stadium was turned into a soccer pitch for a group match between Liverpool and Manchester City in the Guinness International Champions Cup. My dad and I traveled to New York for the match, and it was one I’ll never forget.
Before the actual game, we were lucky to even get in. The crowd was massive, and the attendance was almost at 50,000. You couldn’t see one seat that empty. It was crazy seeing Yankee Stadium as a soccer field, with one goal in left field and the other near first base. It was kind of a test run for the stadium. NYC Football Club (which is owned by the Yankees and Man City) joins MLS next season, and it will play its games at Yankee Stadium.
But even though soccer was being played at a ballpark, futbol is a whole different ballgame than baseball. Many of you know that in baseball, if a ball goes in the stands and you catch it, it’s all yours. In soccer, if a ball goes into the stands, you have to throw it back. How upsetting would that be! Another thing that shocked me was how many more Liverpool fans there were than Man City. The whole stadium was filled with red shirts. I thought this was surprising because I thought there would be more Man City fans because Liverpool is owned by the same company as the Red Sox. I guess I was wrong.
What’s awesome about soccer is that there’s more action than any other sport, as I saw this week. My heart was pounding every moment of the game! One of the best moments was when retiring Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard got a standing ovation from the crowd after being substituted out in the second half. It really showed how much respect that fans have for an extraordinary player.
In the end, Liverpool won on penalty kicks, 2-2, but the fun wasn’t over at the conclusion of the match. Walking out of the stadium, I thought everybody would be worrying about getting home. I was wrong. It was absolutely CRAZY outside the stadium. There were fans dancing, chanting — they were doing everything. There was a Liverpool FC television reporter there, and everyone was going nuts trying to be funny and get on TV. One guy just started randomly rapping right in front of the camera! Then, while we were heading toward our car, there was a group of maybe 30 people in front of Gate 8 singing:
We later found out they were singing “We All Dream Of A Team Of Carraghers,” a Liverpool chant named after longtime defender Jamie Carragher who played 17 years, all with Liverpool.
I guess a great night always needs a great ending, and even though I was cheering for Man City, the Liverpool fans gave my night a great ending.
Photo: Mike Stobe/Getty Images