PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — On Wednesday, Jeld-Wen Field was packed for a Gold Cup game between the US and Belize. On Saturday, 20,000 fans will fill it up again for the Timbers game against the LA Galaxy.
But the real soccer buzz is for the high-profile Major League Soccer All-Star Game next summer. It will be the first all star game in the city’s history.
“The eyes of the country and the world (will be on Portland) like they’ve never been before,” said Timbers owner Merritt Paulson at the announcement Wednesday.
The previous six MLS All Star games were held in Toronto, Sandy, Utah, Houston, Harrison, NJ and Chester, PA. This year’s event is in Kansas City on July 31.
These recent games have meant $15-20 million to the host city in hotel, restaurant and tourist activity.
“Those folks feel it in the cash register,” Portland Mayor Charlie Hales said.
Team USA midfielder Stuart Holden got a feel for Portland’s soccer energy during the Gold Cup game. “I found myself singing,” he said.
And Timbers coach Caleb Prter will organize next year’s MLS all stars as the host team’s coach.
“It’ll be a privilege to lead the team,” he said, promising to “highlight their talents.”
Getting the All Star game is more than a one day event. Though the exact date hasn’t been announced, it will be an All Star week like soccer hasn’t seen before. Summer 2014 looks like Portland’s time to shine.