The Major League Soccer All-Star First XI was revealed at BMO Field on Thursday morning. There are still seven players to be named to the squad. All-Star Coach Steve Nicol will make five additional picks, and MLS Commissioner Don Garber has two picks. Additional players could also be named to the squad if players are unavailable through injury or they are away at the Olympics. That could allow Reds favorites such as Amado Guevara and Jim Brennan to be included.
2008 MLS All-Star First XI
Goalkeeper: Matt Reis (New England)
Defenders: Jimmy Conrad (KC) Frankie Hejduk (Columbus) Michael Parkhurst (New England)
Midfielders: David Beckham (LA) Cuauhtemoc Blanco (Chicago) Shalrie Joseph (New England) Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA) Robbie Rogers (Columbus)
Forwards: Kenny Cooper (FC Dallas) Landon Donovan (LA)
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Chief Operating Officer Tom Anselmi and MLS Deputy Commissioner Ivan Gazidis hosted the announcement. "It is great for us to be hosting the All-Star Game" said Anselmi. "When we launched Toronto FC, we promised that we were going to bring soccer to Toronto in a number of different ways, and that includes bringing world class events here such as the 2008 All-Star Game."
The game will be David Beckham's first at BMO Field. "It was disappointing that he was injured and not able to play in the last couple of games" said Anselmi. "It will be great for our fans to see him. He is having a teriffic year, but all 11 of these players are great players and it's going to be a great game. We're really looking forward to it."
"The All-Star Game is sold out, but we've tried to build events around the game and take it to the next level. We wanted to take a page out of the NBA and NHL and make it accessible to more than the twenty thousand people with tickets for the stadium. It's going to be a great three days."
Pepsi MLS Soccer Jam is a three day soccer extravaganza taking place on the CNE Grounds between BMO Field and the Direct Energy Centre from Tuesday, July 22 to Thursday, July 24 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day. Admission is free. Also on Tuesday, July 22nd at 7:00 p.m. Toronto FC host the Montreal Impact in the deciding game of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship. The Official MLS All-Star Players' Party takes place at Muzik and fans without tickets for the MLS All-Star Game still have an opportunity to be part of the exciting atmosphere. The Budweiser Beer Garden will host its own MLS All-Star Party on Thursday, July 24 starting at 4:30 p.m. For tickets for all events, click here.
"Everything you do is for the fans with the aim of trying to grow the franchise. We're a year and a half old and we're still learning about this league and what it takes to be a winner on the field and a winner off it. We've got lots of work to do yet, but hosting the All-Star game is another step forward, especially when a couple of our players get in when the Coach and Commissioner make their additional picks."
Deputy Commissioner Ivan Gazidis said: "I want to thank MLSE and I'm confident they will put on an outstanding All-Star Game this year. The story here in Toronto has been extraordinary. In just 18 months, this team has become an MLS institution and has provided leadership for all of our other teams as they look to the way Toronto is progressing on and off the field. We're delighted to bring the game here to BMO Field."