Soccer festival kicks off in June for two weekends
LEHIGH VALLEY, Pa. –All the drama, action and intensity of the FIFA World Cup™ will unfold in grand fashion during the FIFA World Cup™ SoccerFest and Viewing Party, set for June 12-16 and 19-22 at SteelStacks, the arts and entertainment district located on the site of Bethlehem’s former Bethlehem Steel plant.
The FIFA World Cup™ SoccerFest and Viewing Party, one of a select few outdoor viewing events in the nation officially approved by FIFA, features 26 World Cup Brazil™ games, including USA vs. Ghana June 16 and USA vs. Portugal June 22, shown on a 17-foot high by 27-foot wide outdoor LED screen on SteelStacks’ Air Products Town Square. Both weekends are also packed with soccer programs, clinics, hands-on activities and special events appealing to soccer fans, players, coaches and families.
“The World Cup™ is the most watched sporting event in the world, inspiring passion in soccer fans from every corner of the globe,” says Curt Mosel, Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for ArtsQuest, the nonprofit arts organization hosting the festival at SteelStacks. “Our goal with this SoccerFest and Viewing Party is to bring that international excitement and energy to the Lehigh Valley, while also engaging the region’s youth players, creating an atmosphere for thousands to come together for a celebration of the world’s game in a very unique setting.
Discover Lehigh Valley’s Vice-President, Kim Lilly, touched on the importance of the event for local tourism.
“Soccer has the largest demographic of any sport,” she said. “Last year, through working with Greg Ramos of Lehigh Valley United on Tournaments, we helped bring in 615 teams to Lehigh Valley, equating to more than 9,000 players and more than 20,000 visitors. This event has the potential to make a huge tourism economic impact for the area’s $1.9 billion industry.”
The event will also feature some entertainment and fun food.
“In addition to the many soccer related activities, the festival will feature live music, international cuisine, visual arts activities and an opportunity to learn about the historical significance of soccer to Bethlehem. We’re honored that FIFA has chosen SteelStacks as one of the locations to host a 2014 World Cup™ viewing party, and we thank all of our partners and supporters who have worked so hard over the past year to make this event a reality.”
Among the many activities planned for the FIFA World Cup™ SoccerFest and Viewing Party are a youth soccer clinic presented by The Philadelphia Union June 14; an interactive Kids’ Fun Zone featuring soccer skills activities, challenges and inflatables presented by Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association during the first weekend; and two youth soccer clinics for children with disabilities June 20, presented by Good Shepherd Health & Rehabilitation Network and Lehigh Valley United. The National Soccer Coaches Association of America is also offering two ‘Reading the Game’ diploma courses for coaches June 14 and 21.
“The National Soccer Coaches Association of America is dedicated to presenting educational programming and events that inspire our members to improve and enhance their involvement in soccer,” says National Soccer Coaches Association of America Executive Officer Joe Cummings. “The FIFA World Cup™ SoccerFest and Viewing Party ties in perfectly with our mission by providing an amazing array of hands-on activities and educational experiences for soccer coaches, as well as players and fans of all levels and interests.”
The second weekend of the SoccerFest coincides with ¡Sabor!, the popular free Latin festival at SteelStacks that last year attracted 10,000 visitors to enjoy live music, food and family fun. Throughout both weekends of the SoccerFest, guests are encouraged to donate new and gently used soccer equipment to the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s Passback® Program, which will distribute the equipment to children in underserved communities throughout the nation.
“We’re excited to be a part of such a great event in Bethlehem, especially at the home of one of America’s greatest soccer teams,” said Philadelphia Union CEO & Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz. “It will certainly be two great weekends to celebrate the game of soccer on both a local and global scale as well as Bethlehem Steel’s rich history.”
Other FIFA World Cup™ SoccerFest and Viewing Party activities include:
- Free, live music on two stages
- Bethlehem Steel Football Club presentations by soccer historian Daniel Paul Morrison June 14-15
- Vendors showcasing soccer apparel and equipment, including official FIFA™ merchandise
- Family-friendly art activities including opportunities to make your own soccer noisemaker and soccer-themed glassblowing events.
The FIFA World Cup™ SoccerFest and Viewing Party is made possible through a partnership between Discover Lehigh Valley, The Philadelphia Union, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association, Lehigh Valley United, Lehigh Valley Youth Soccer League, PBS39, Spark and ArtsQuest. Supporters helping to make the event possible include Air Products, Men’s Health, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, Good Shepherd Health & Rehabilitation Network, The Outlets at the Sands Bethlehem and Christmas City Printing, as well as media partners Adams Outdoor, B104 and La Ola Radio.
For festival hours and more information on the FIFA World Cup™ SoccerFest and Viewing Party at SteelStacks, visit www.lvsoccerfest.com/ or like www.facebook.com/LVsoccerfest.
About Discover Lehigh Valley
Discover Lehigh Valley is the designated destination marketing organization (DMO) of Lehigh and Northampton counties. Its mission is to promote and develop Lehigh Valley as a leisure and business travel destination. Created in 1984, Discover Lehigh Valley assists in promoting regional tourism, an industry that generates $1.9 billion in annual revenue and accounts for more than 22,500 jobs in Lehigh Valley. For more information on Discover Lehigh Valley and its activities or to request a Lehigh Valley Official Visitors Guide, call (800) MEET-HERE, or visit the official tourism website of Lehigh Valley at DiscoverLehighValley.com.
George Wacker, Communications Manager