Commentary

USA-Costa Rica: more than a game

By Paul Kennedy

The U.S. national team's commitment to embrace its fans is remarkable. Can you imagine any other national team coach rounding up a bunch of players and heading off to a pep rally the night before a big game?

That's what Jurgen Klinsmann is doing Thursday night as U.S. Soccer will hold a pep rally with supporters at the Paramount Theatre in downtown Denver on the eve of USA-Costa Rica at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in suburban Commerce City.

(The event kicks off at 8 p.m. MT. Doors open for VIP and Supporters Club members beginning at 7 p.m. and doors open for all other attendees at 7:30 p.m. Admittance is free for all fans, but space is limited as pep rally admission is on a first-come, first-served basis.)

The event also includes a performance by Brad Corrigan from Dispatch with special guests and an appearance by former national team star Marcelo Balboa, now a local soccer commentator.

The pep rally and game-day activities, which include an ESPN "Chalk Talk" luncheon and pre-game meal catered by local chefs, all go toward making a national team game a destination event and creating value for fans who have purchased VIP packages (U.S. Soccer Travel Package or Ultimate Fan ticket). All fans at the game will receive a free, special-edition game-specific scarf to wear.

NASN'S HEX COVERAGE ON KICKTV. The North American Soccer Network, the Internet soccer broadcasting network, is partnering with YouTube and MLS's KickTV channel to provide live video coverage (pregame, halftime and postgame) of the upcoming Hexagonal qualifiers.

KickTV will be carrying NASN's "The Best Soccer Show" with analysis from the show's hosts and guests as well as listener calls.

Pregame coverage for both USA-Costa Rica and Mexico-USA starts at 9:30 p.m. ET. Coverage will also stream on NASN Radio, the 24-hour American soccer radio channel.

NASH SHOWDOWN COMES TO LA. The Steve Nash Foundation Showdown, Steve Nash's popular charity soccer match, will include a game for the first time this summer in Los Angeles, where he plays for the NBA Lakers. The July 14 event will follow the June 26 event in New York City, where Showdown returns for its seventh year.

Showdown features a competitive 8-a-side soccer match with NBA and professional soccer players, as well as Showdown After Hours, a cocktail party and live auction. All proceeds benefit the Steve Nash Foundation’s children's work. The Los Angeles and New York Showdowns will both be televised by Time Warner Cable on sports networks across the country.

BEIN SPORT ADDS BRAZIL TOUR. BeIN SPORT's live broadcast of Brazil-Italy Thursday kicked off its coverage of the Brazil World Tour, the first of six Brazil friendlies it will air. Action resumes Monday with Brazil-Russia from Stamford Bridge in London (kickoff: 3:25 p.m. ET).
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