Lehigh Valley SoccerFest Returns to SteelStacks for Copa America This June

May 19th, 2016

SoccerFest1 - By Mark DemkoBETHLEHEM, PA—The free Lehigh Valley SoccerFest & Viewing Party, which attracted more than 75,000 cheering fans to Bethlehem the past two summers, returns to SteelStacks this June for the Copa America Centenario tournament. The festival, which is presented by Discover Lehigh Valley, will feature all three of the U.S.A.’s opening round matches vs. Colombia (June 3, 9:30 p.m.), Costa Rica (June 7, 8 p.m.) and Paraguay (June 11, 7 p.m.). The games will be shown on a large LED screen on the Air Products Town Square; additional matches will be shown should the U.S. team advance.


Launched in 2014 to coincide with World Cup Brazil™, the Lehigh Valley SoccerFest is designed to bring the community together in a celebration of the world’s cultures and the “world’s game.” During the festival’s first two years, the event attracted single-game crowds of up to 10,000 to SteelStacks on the city’s former steel mill site, grabbing the attention of ESPN, USA Today, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Los Angeles Times and dozens of other media outlets across the nation.


Highlights of this year’s SoccerFest include a children’s soccer clinic, run by the Bethlehem Steel FC and Philadelphia Union, on June 7 at 6 p.m., along with concerts at the Levitt Pavilion by Fleetwood Mac tribute band TUSK (June 3, 7:30 p.m.) and The Cedric Burnside Project (June 11, 5 p.m.). Delicious food, vendors offering soccer merchandise and free family programming, including youth soccer activities run by Lehigh Valley United and soccer tennis by Kwik Goal, round out the activities and attractions during the event. On June 11, SteelStacks will also host the “Food Truck Border Brawl,” featuring 16 area food trucks, prior to the start of SoccerFest. Tickets for that event are on sale now at www.steelstacks.org.


“Our region has really demonstrated its passion for soccer the past two years through its attendance at our World Cup™ viewing events,” says ArtsQuest Sr. Vice President of Marketing & Advancement Curt Mosel. “We’re excited to show the Copa America matches, and we know fans will come out to cheer on the U.S. men’s team. From free concerts at the Levitt Pavilion to the new food truck event on June 11, there will be plenty of great events and activities for everyone to enjoy.”


In addition to showing the U.S.A’s matches on the screen at SteelStacks, SoccerFest is working with area restaurants and pubs to establish additional viewing locations for other Copa matches. During June, locations such as McCarthy’s Red Stag Pub and Molly’s Irish Bar & Grille in Bethlehem will be showing the games, offering fans a variety of options for catching all the action from the longest running international soccer tournament in the world.


“One of the primary goals in developing SteelStacks was to help support tourism and economic development in our city and our region,” says Mosel. “By partnering with area restaurants and pubs, we’re hoping we can shine the spotlight on a few of the many dynamic businesses that make the Lehigh Valley such a great place to live, work and play.”


The historic Copa America Centenario marks not only 100 years since 1916’s first Copa America, but also the first time the championship will be staged in the U.S. From June 3-26, matches will take place in 10 NFL stadiums across the country, including Pasadena’s Rose Bowl and East Rutherford’s MetLife Stadium.


The Lehigh Valley SoccerFest is a partnership between Discover Lehigh Valley, Lehigh Valley United, Lehigh Mining & Navigation and ArtsQuest. Sponsors of the 2016 event include Discover Lehigh Valley, Kwik Goal, Outlets at Sands Bethlehem, Lehigh Valley Health Network, Air Products, Red Robin, Bethlehem Steel FC and PBS39. The festival begins at 6 p.m. June 3 and 7, and at 5 p.m. on June 11; additional details on the soccer clinic will be announced soon. For news and updates, please visit soccerfest.discoverlehighvalley.com.