One of the top European soccer teams will be making their way to the Queen City this summer.
It was announced Tuesday morning that Valencia CF, a team from the La Liga soccer league in Spain, will be playing a friendly game against the North American Soccer League’s New York Cosmos.
Valencia is one of the top teams in Spain and is home to several world cup level players including Luis Nani.
The local soccer community was over the moon about the announcement.
“To have that kind of team come, I think, for us, for me as an individual who loves soccer, who runs a soccer academy in the city and is involved in soccer, this is very, very, very positive. We are very happy,” said Filipe Dos Santos, who runs Ginga Soccer Academy.
“I’m very excited to see Nani play here in our hometown. I never thought that would be possible.”
It was made possible by a partnership between John Graham and his company, On Ice Management Group, who have previously brought NHL preseason games to the province.
Graham came down to Regina and saw the stadium in November and the process started there. He said it took about 60 days of hard work with help from the province, the city and Regina Exhibition Association as well as the two soccer team to make it possible.
“Everybody really wanted to do it, and I think the energy from the Cosmos and Valencia really made it possible,” he said.
Mayor Michael Fougere said a soccer match like this one has been something he’s wanted since the planning for Mosaic began.
“We talked about it in the very beginning, about having professional soccer here,” he said, adding he hopes it is just the beginning.
“Hopefully we could get a league team here at some point, but certainly (we) wanted to attract this kind of event.”
Along with the international match there will be soccer clinics put on for children.
Also, the University of Regina and University of Saskatchewan women’s soccer teams will play in an exhibition game.
Shayla Kapila, a fifth year midfielder for the U of R Cougars, said it’s an incredible opportunity for their team, but also stressed how excited she is as a soccer fan for Nani and this level of international soccer to come to the city.
“It’s kind of unreal because people go to Europe or down to the States to travel and watch these teams play, but for them to come to little ol’ Regina is a pretty big deal,” she said.
Tickets for the event go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. on Ticketmaster and at the Brandt Centre box office.
Prices will range from $22 to $66 plus applicable fees.