Thursday, May 26, 2016

And Here's The Pitch: Pro Soccer Arrives In Reno

I've been watching pro soccer since 1974, when San Jose got its first pro team with the Earthquakes. I was also there when MLS began with its first game at Spartan Stadium.

So, when Sacramento Republic scheduled a friendly with the U-21 squad from Liverpool at the Reno Aces Ballpark, now Greater Nevada Field, I decided to check it out. It was an OK game, highlighted by a last-second goal by Republic to salvage a 2-2 tie.
It was also pretty cold for a late May evening, too, as fans were also keeping an eye on NBA and Stanley Cup games. That's why I wore two scarves and a Kashima Antlers (J-League) coat along with an old Liverpool replica jersey. Still, there was plenty of excitement among local soccer fans. There should be even more when Republic has another match in Reno against SLC Real Monarchs.

Anyway, here's some of the pictures I took

This is the pitch they installed over the baseball field. They did a pretty good job here. It's an improvement over the old days when people just drew the field lines over the field and didn't cover the dirt with grass. By the way, I was able to see the game from under the scoreboard. It was technically a "standing room only" spot, but I got a great look of the action.
Now, some of the action:

Already there's a fan group called the Battle Born Brigade. Here's one of the guys...

The logo is three B's joined together like the pre-1976 NBC logo. They had an alternate logo based on Borussia Dortmund. Here's a better picture from their Facebook page:

The big news was that the new team, Reno 1868 FC was about to unveil a new logo for their uniforms. They had lots of shirts ready to go, but also covered and guarded by a couple of clerks.

Then, the new logo was unveiled...

It's based on the natural beauty of northern Nevada, especially the Sierra Nevada and the Truckee River.
It didn't take long for fans to get their hands on the new scarves and shirts. Jerseys will be coming later.

Overall, it was a good start to Reno getting in tune with soccer after embracing Triple A Baseball and having a great time with Nevada winning the College Basketball Invitational. The only suggestion is that they renovate the scoreboard to handle soccer as well as baseball, People could see the action thanks to the big screen, but it would be better to have the score and timing on the scoreboard. Still, it;s early, and the first official game is a long way off. They'll get another dress rehearsal in a couple of weeks, and make more preparations before Reno becomes the Biggest Little Soccer City.

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