Ecuador to face Chile at Citi Field


| tcullen@queenscourier.com |

It’ll be a different kind of pitch.

For one night only, the Citi Field diamond will play host to a match between the Ecuadorian and Chilean national teams on Wednesday, August 15, as the sport continues to become more popular in the city and the country.

Chile is currently ranked 15th in the world, according to the most recent FIFA standings. Ecuador is currently ranked five spots below, at 20.

At a July 30 press conference for the match, both the Consul General of Chile, Julio Fiol, and Consul General of Ecuador, Jorge Lopez, both recognized the large immigrant populations their respective nations had in Queens.

“We think the small Chilean community that is around here will come as a whole,” Fiol said. “And I take this opportunity to invite them all, as well as our Ecuadorian and Latin American friends.”

Assemblymember Francisco Moya, who grew up playing soccer in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, said at the conference that the game was an outstanding effort. He also testified to the large soccer-playing community in Queens.

“When we have two great [teams], that will showcase some of the world’s best soccer players right here in our own backyard,” he said. “I can only say they’ve done a tremendous job in the promotion of [this] game.”

This is just the third time in a year the ballpark has hosted a soccer match. Ecuador faced off against Greece at Citi last year, when Moya was named an honorary captain for former.

Days later, Italy’s Juventus FC took on Mexican team Club America, with Juventus taking it, 1 – 0.

The matches, much like this year’s, were intended to reflect the large immigrant populations in Queens, organizers said.

Soccer’s status continues to grow in the borough with talks of a professional soccer league team and stadium coming to Flushing Meadows.

Several elected officials confirmed the city was in talks with Major League Soccer (MLS) about a potential team coming to Queens. It would be the second MLS team in the metropolitan area, along with the New York Red Bulls.

While there are not contingent plans for a stadium, or what would be the league’s 20th team, officials and MLS said they are confident and excited to explore bringing a new team to the area.

And only a few weeks ago, at Resorts World Casino New York City, former FC Aston Villa star Ian Taylor spent a morning with some 30 members of the South Queens Boys & Girls club to teach them fundamentals of the game.

“We are thrilled to work with Resorts World Casino New York City and give a special experience to children from the South Queens Boys and Girls Club,” Taylor said at the event.