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International soccer match draws 42,000 to Lucas Oil

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Close to 42,000 fans witnessed the biggest soccer match in Indianapolis history on Thursday night, as European rivals Chelsea and Inter Milan met in an exhibition match at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The official attendance was 41,983 in the 5-year-old football stadium, which was configured to seat about 61,000 for the match. The game, a quarterfinal match in the barnstorming Guinness International Champions Cup, was expected to draw more than 150 credentialed members of the media from five countries.

The first soccer game ever held at Lucas Oil also the first time a natural grass surface was laid inside the stadium, thanks to more than 100,000-square feet of Kentucky Bluegrass that was trucked in last weekend.

Indianapolis will give pro soccer another try next year with the Indy Eleven joining the North American Soccer League in 2014. The team will be Indy's ninth pro or semi-pro team since 1973. On Thursday night, it proudly hung its banner in the middle of the Colts' horseshoe on the north side of the stadium.

"It's nice that people can come to downtown Indianapolis to see international quality soccer rather than have to go to New York, Chicago or Los Angeles," said Juergen Sommer, coach of the Indy Eleven. "People really get it. The fan base for soccer is undersold here."

Oscar and Eden Hazard scored first-half goals, leading Chelsea to a 2-0 victory over Inter Milan.
 

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  1. I took Bruce's comments to highlight a glaring issue when it comes to a state's image, and therefore its overall branding. An example is Michigan vs. Indiana. Michigan has done an excellent job of following through on its branding strategy around "Pure Michigan", even down to the detail of the rest stops. Since a state's branding is often targeted to visitors, it makes sense that rest stops, being that point of first impression, should be significant. It is clear that Indiana doesn't care as much about the impression it gives visitors even though our branding as the Crossroads of America does place importance on travel. Bruce's point is quite logical and accurate.

  2. I appreciated the article. I guess I have become so accustomed to making my "pit stops" at places where I can ALSO get gasoline and something hot to eat, that I hardly even notice public rest stops anymore. That said, I do concur with the rationale that our rest stops (if we are to have them at all) can and should be both fiscally-responsible AND designed to make a positive impression about our state.

  3. I don't know about the rest of you but I only stop at these places for one reason, and it's not to picnic. I move trucks for dealers and have been to rest areas in most all 48 lower states. Some of ours need upgrading no doubt. Many states rest areas are much worse than ours. In the rest area on I-70 just past Richmond truckers have to hike about a quarter of a mile. When I stop I;m generally in a bit of a hurry. Convenience,not beauty, is a primary concern.

  4. Community Hospital is the only system to not have layoffs? That is not true. Because I was one of the people who was laid off from East. And all of the LPN's have been laid off. Just because their layoffs were not announced or done all together does not mean people did not lose their jobs. They cherry-picked people from departments one by one. But you add them all up and it's several hundred. And East has had a dramatic drop I in patient beds from 800 to around 125. I know because I worked there for 30 years.

  5. I have obtained my 6 gallon badge for my donation of A Positive blood. I'm sorry to hear that my donation was nothing but a profit center for the Indiana Blood Center.

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