COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Crew announced today that former Crew and U.S. National Team great Brad Friedel will attend "Cup Headquarters" on Monday, June 12, for the first U.S. game in the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
Friedel, currently one of the top goalkeepers in the English Premier League with Blackburn Rovers, will sign autographs from 11:30 a.m. to Noon and then remain at Crew Stadium to watch the U.S. game that begins at Noon. He will also be available for interviews. Friedel spent the 1997 season and part of the 1996 year with The Crew.
The Bay Village, Ohio, native was one of the stars of the 2002 U.S. World Cup team that advanced to the quarterfinals before falling to Germany, 1-0. He appeared 82 times for the U.S. National Team in his career, notching 27 wins and 24 shutouts, ranking third all-time for the U.S. in all three categories.
Friedel has spent the past six seasons with Blackburn. Prior to Blackburn, he spent three years with Liverpool in the Premier League. He was rated the fifth-best goalkeeper in the Premier League this past season and the 30th best player overall by the Actim Index. The Actim Index is the official player rating system of the Premiership.
Crew Stadium will once again serve as "Cup Headquarters" and host viewing parties for all 64 games of the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany that will be televised live on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2.
Juicy Bob Evans brats will be available for just $1 throughout the entire tournament, Best Buy will provide televisions for the event and Pepsi will supply product for the fans in attendance.
Admission to "Cup Headquarters" will be free and complimentary snacks and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided. Alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase, including tournament specials. The games will be shown in the Stadium Club tent located just west of the stadium.
The World Cup begins on Friday, June 9, when host Germany takes on Costa Rica, and runs through the July 9 final. The World Cup is the most anticipated and watched sporting event in the world. Thirty-two nations qualify for the World Cup Finals, which are held every four years, and they are drawn into eight groups of four. The top two teams in each group, after a three-game round-robin, advance to the Round of 16, which begins the knockout phase of the competition.
Crew Stadium hosted the largest viewing parties in the United States for the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan and had over 25,000 people attend the 64 matches that were televised at the stadium, despite the games being televised in the middle of the night and early morning. Over 7,500 were in attendance for the U.S-Germany quarterfinal match. Germany is six hours ahead of the Eastern Time Zone, meaning the games will take place during daytime here.
Cup Headquarters will feature wireless internet for people who would like to bring their work to Crew Stadium and watch the games. There will be special prizes given away each day and a to be announced grand-prize will be raffled off at the conclusion of the tournament. The Crew Soccer Tour will be set up just north of the Stadium Club tent and will provide interactive games, while the "Cup Information Center" will have all the current scores, standings, statistics, news articles and press releases related to the World Cup.
The United States is competing in its record fifth-straight World Cup, and will battle the Czech Republic, Italy and Ghana in group play. The first match for the U.S. is against the Czech Republic on Monday, June 12, at 11:55 a.m. The U.S. qualifying road went directly through Columbus and Crew Stadium as the U.S. clinched a spot in the 2006 World Cup by defeating Mexico, 2-0, on Sept. 3, 2005, in final round qualifying.
The complete tournament viewing schedule can be found at TheCrew.com.