Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber announced Thursday that the ninth annual Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game will feature All-Stars from the Eastern Conference and Western Conference facing off at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, July 31 at 2 p.m. ET, in a live national television broadcast on ABC Sports. In conjunction with the East vs. West contest at RFK Stadium, Major League Soccer will present an MLS reunion match featuring players who competed in the 1994 World Cup in the 10th anniversary of the historic tournament.
Additionally, Commissioner Garber confirmed that the League has accepted an invitation from Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid to send a team of MLS All-Stars to compete against the "Galacticos" on Tuesday, September 21 in Madrid, Spain, as part of the 26th annual Santiago Bernabeu Trophy. First held in 1979 in honor of the club's legendary former president for whom the team's stadium is also named, the trophy is contested in what has traditionally become the final international match played by Real Madrid prior to the start of the team's domestic season. As the first-ever American team to play in the historic Bernabeu, the MLS All-Stars join elite company such as A.C. Milan, Ajax Amsterdam, Bayern Munich, Benfica, Inter Milan, Liverpool, River Plate and Santos, who are among the legendary teams to have competed in the prestigious event's history.
"We are looking forward to the first true celebration of Major League Soccer's past, present and future stars on July 31 at the Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game," said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. "At the same time we are also pleased to secure another high-profile international match for the MLS All-Stars in what is sure to be a unique and memorable event in the League's history when the team faces Real Madrid in Spain on September 21. Participating in the two events on separate continents 45 days apart allows the League to achieve both of our All-Star goals: celebrating the rapid evolution and development of American soccer during the past decade as well as giving our top performers the opportunity to compete against one of the world's elite soccer clubs."
The Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game on July 31 will bring together the top stars of the sport in America as MLS' two conferences go head-to-head for the first time since 2001. Online fan balloting via the League's official web site (www.MLSnet.com) will close on July 5 with All-Star Starters unveiled on July 6 and All-Star Reserves named three days later.
Prior to the East vs. West contest, MLS will honor its tradition, history and pioneers by hosting an MLS Reunion Match, which will feature players who participated in the 1994 World Cup and then went on to play in MLS. The celebration game will kick off at 12:30 p.m. ET, with two 25-minute halves divided by a 10-minute halftime, in a U.S. vs. the World format that has been used in previous all-star matches. Invitations have been accepted by such MLS legends as Marcelo Balboa, Mike Burns, Paul Caligiuri, Jorge Campos, Mauricio Cienfuegos, Fernando Clavijo, Thomas Dooley, Marco Etcheverry, Richard Gough, John Harkes, Carlos Hermosillo, Frank Klopas, Alexi Lalas, Peter Nowak, Carlos Valderrama, Eric Wynalda and Frank Yallop.
The MLS-USA team will be coached by current Honduras technical director Bora Milutinovic, the only manager in FIFA World Cup history to have guided five different nations in the World Cup finals (Mexico - '86; Costa Rica - '90; USA - '94; Nigeria - '98; China - '02). The MLS-World squad will be coached by former D.C. United and current U.S. national team manager Bruce Arena.
Active MLS players such as Tony Meola (Kansas City Wizards), Earnie Stewart (D.C. United), Cobi Jones (Los Angeles Galaxy), Joe-Max Moore (New England Revolution), Jaime Moreno (D.C. United), Ronald Cerritos (D.C. United), John Spencer (Colorado Rapids), Carlos Ruiz (Los Angeles Galaxy), Pat Onstad (San Jose Earthquakes) and Ryan Nelsen (D.C. United) are also eligible to participate in the first game of the All-Star doubleheader, should they not be chosen for the East-West contest.
"Major League Soccer is a legacy of the 1994 World Cup, which remains the most successful FIFA event in history," said Garber. "Our July 31 event in the nation's capital will allow us to pay tribute to the landmark achievements for the sport of soccer during the last 10 years. Our League is built upon the efforts and trailblazing spirit of that event and those who played in MLS during the early years, starting the modern soccer boom in the U.S. We will also honor America's soccer future, the youth players of today, throughout the weekend."
During the live telecast of the 2004 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game on ABC, Sierra Mist will award one lucky viewer a spot as a contestant in the Pepsi "Play For A Billion" Sweepstakes. The winning sweepstakes code will be announced live during the Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game and the person with the winning number will travel to Los Angeles, Calif. in September to appear on the televised one-hour prime-time special and compete for a chance to win the $1 billion prize. One of the "Play For A Billion" contestants is guaranteed to win $1 million.
"Once again we are proud to be a part of Major League Soccer's celebration of the sport in America," said John Galloway, director of sports marketing, Pepsi-Cola North America. "The event and its location provide us another opportunity to showcase the greatness of soccer with some of the best players in the world and other legends of the game making the Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game a truly spectacular event."
The 2004 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game is the main attraction of a weekend extravaganza of soccer-themed events and programs, all of which aim to pay tribute to the future of American soccer. Thousands of the 15 million registered youth participants under the age of 18 will have the opportunity throughout the weekend to see, touch and feel the approachable heroes of Major League Soccer past and present. Through clinics, on-field presentations, pre-game and halftime ceremonies, "Soccer Celebration" events for families and youth, player autograph sessions and more, MLS will recognize the importance of youth participation as the future of our sport.
"Sierra Mist continues to show an unwavering commitment to the sport of soccer in America," said Garber. "The PepsiCo group has been a driving force behind the League's success since its inception. The Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game is a key element of a unique and extensive sponsorship program which has enhanced the game for MLS fans nationwide."
The 2004 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game featuring MLS All-Stars and the MLS Reunion Match celebrating the 1994 World Cup offers six levels of ticket pricing, ranging from $25 to $60 for individuals, and $16 to $40 for groups of varying sizes. Tickets go on sale tomorrow, Friday, June 18, at 10:00 a.m. ET. For Group Sales information, call D.C. United at (703) 587-5000; or go online at www.dcunited.com and at RFK Stadium advance sales during all D.C. United home games. For individual tickets call TicketMaster - (202) 432 - SEAT (metro D.C.); (410) 481 - SEAT (Baltimore & MD); (703) 573 - SEAT (Virginia); or go online at www.ticketmaster.com and at all TicketMaster outlets including HECHT's, Tower Records and at RFK Stadium.
Soccer fans in the nation's capital have proven to be some of the country's most loyal as shown by United's average attendance over the club's nine-year history which has been greater than 15,000 since the League's inception. United's average home attendance of 19,191 after six games in the 2004 regular season ranks second in the League. The fans turned out in large numbers once again on Aug. 3, 2002 as 31,096 braved violent thunderstorms at the 2002 All-Star Game in which the MLS All-Stars defeated the U.S. National Team 3-2. RFK Stadium, also host of the 1997 and 2000 MLS Cup championship finals, is home to D.C.'s passionate and knowledgeable supporters clubs including the Screaming Eagles and Barra Brava, which have repeatedly given United one of the most intimidating home-field advantages in MLS.
Media wishing to download high-resolution images of the official 2004 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star logo can access the color version. SANTIAGO BERNABEU TROPHY (1979-2003)
1979 - Bayern Munich (GER) 2, Ajax (HOL) 0 **
1980 - Bayern Munich (GER) 1, Real Madrid 1 (Bayern wins on PKs) **
1981 - Real Madrid 0, AZ '67 (HOL) 0 (Real Madrid wins on PKs) **
1982 - Hamburg (GER) 3, Standard Liege (BEL) 1 **
1983 - Real Madrid 3, Hamburg (GER) 2
1984 - Real Madrid 4, F.C. Kvln (GER) 1 **
1985 - Real Madrid 4, Bayern Munich (GER) 2
1986 - Dynamo Kiev (USSR) 3, Real Madrid 2 **
1987 - Real Madrid 6, Everton (ENG) 1
1988 - A.C. Milan (ITA) 3, Real Madrid 0
1989 - Real Madrid 2, Liverpool (ENG) 0
1990 - A.C. Milan (ITA) 3, Real Madrid 1
1991 - Real Madrid 6, Colo Colo (CHI) 1
1992 - Ajax (HOL) 3, Real Madrid 1
1993 - Inter Milan (ITA) 2, Real Madrid 2 (Inter wins on PKs)
1994 - Real Madrid 3, Palmeiras (BRA) 2
1995 - Real Madrid 1, Ajax (HOL) 0
1996 - Real Madrid 4, Benfica (POR) 0
1997 - Real Madrid 1, Portuguesa (BRA) 0
1998 - Real Madrid 4, Penarol (URU) 0
1999 - Real Madrid 4, A.C. Milan (ITA) 2
2000 - Real Madrid 2, Santos (BRA) 0
2001 - Inter Milan (ITA) 2, Real Madrid 1
2002 - Bayern Munich (GER) 2, Real Madrid 1 **
2003 - Real Madrid 3, River Plate (ARG) 1
(** - indicates Santiago Bernabeu Trophy competitions which featured semifinal matches)