UM Stadium Hosts Biggest Soccer Match In USBy Staff Reporter, UniversityHerald Reporter
The University of Michigan stadium created a world record on August 2 when it played host to the biggest soccer match in the United States.
On Saturday, the clash between two of the most iconic soccer clubs - Real Madrid and Manchester United - brought 109,918 spectators to the "Big House." The figure doesn't reflect the sport's unpopularity in this country.
The attendance shattered the previous record of 101,799, set during the gold-medal final of the 1984 Olympics. The University previously set attendance records for NCAA football and hockey matches.
"It was great to play in it," said Manchester United defender Michael Keane in a statement. "It's obviously the biggest crowd I've ever played in front of. It was great experience. Just a massive stadium, and the fans were great. Considering football is not supposed to be that big in America, it was a massive game, wasn't it? It's obviously growing over here, and hopefully that will continue."
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said that the spectators created a fantastic atmosphere and the team is not used to playing amidst a large crowd.
"It was a fun time. We tried to do our best to give joy to the people, and I think that the game in general was a good game," Ancelotti said.
The premiere game of the 2014 Guinness International Champions Cup held Saturday saw Manchester United claim a 3-1 victory. Midfielder Ashley Young scored the first goal in the 21st minute and in the 80th minute Javier Hernandez scored by going for header. Midfielder Gareth Bale was the lone goal scorer for Real Madrid. Bale found the back of the net in the 27th minute on a penalty kick.
Joshua Henschke, a writer at the Wolverines blog Maize-n-Brew, said that international matches such as this not only benefits the athletic department and the University, but also greatly impacts the Washtenaw County, Detroit Free Press reports.
Henschke said that the game is estimated to pump in around $15-20 million into the local economy.