03 August 2015

My 1st MLS All-Star Game

I love soccer, but I don't love the MLS...
Via @MLS tweet
I appreciate it, wholeheartedly, but I don't pay attention to much of it. I do enjoy attending the occasional San Jose Earthquakes game and on any given Sunday a MLS game will be on at our house. But that's the extent of it, I enjoy watching soccer, that's what it boils down too.

Live soccer. It's the BEST!

When the MLS announced the All-Star game would be versus Tottenham Hotspur, J text me about going immediately. If you know anything about him, which I keep to a minimum on here, I think you'd know he is a die hard (might even be an understatement) Spurs fan. Him and his two brothers, so it was going to be a family affair in Denver, CO for the MLS All Star Game!

We'd been looking forward to it for months, so when it was finally time to go we couldn't wait to board the plane to Denver. Neither of us had been to Denver (besides the airport) or been to an MLS All Star game. 

I have been adamantly opposed to being "that girl" who supports her man's team because it's his team, but I finally gave in. To be fair, on his own accord he started paying more attention to my G-men, so it's the least I can do ;) I even ordered a Tottenham shirt, but sadly it arrived when our plane was departing - damn you Soccer.com!! I have never followed a soccer team as thoroughly as J follows the Spurs, I can appreciate his passion and love for his club. It also makes it easier if I just support them as well ;) And seeing as how I didn't have a strong allegiance to any other club (but, I do LOVE Real Madrid), I finally gave in, to his delight. Not sure why I was so wrapped up in the idea of being "that girl," but I was. I'm over it and now will just go with it :) T-shirt and all...

Sadly, we didn't plan to attend the opening training session the day before the game, since they didn't announce it until closer to the day of the actual game. We actually decided to spend two days after the game exploring the new city. But, we've taken note and will always plan to arrive the day before, so we don't miss the opportunity to meet the players and watch any open trainings. Luckily his brother's family planned properly and sent him pics so he could enjoy it as well.

Once we landed, we had plenty of time to kill. We checked into our hotel, which was fairly close to the venue. We had a little time to go explore and grab a bite to eat at Jim 'N Nicks Bar-B-Q. It was nestled in a outdoor mall area, so we also peeked into a few stores to kill some time. We freshened up and then his brother and fam came to swoop us up. All three brothers are Tottenham fans, as well as their kids (I don't think they have a choice)! So, with a mini van full of Tottenham fans, we were off to get to the game early. I didn't know what to expect, since this was my first time.
The Burger 1920 & a glass of the house red!

Dick's Sporting Goods Park is not really located centrally or near Denver's Downtown area. It is a soccer specific stadium (meaning: only soccer is played on this field, no other sport). When we arrived, we payed $15 to park (take note AT&T Park) and found plenty of open spaces. As we all bundled out of the car, we saw a huge event happening. We made our way there, which ended up being a "Fan Fest" of sorts.

It really was just an area for families to come and do random things, while the sponsors of the game took your personal information and gave you freebie marketing trinkets & trash. Sound, cynical, it is. It was great for the kids. But it was hot and there wasn't much shade around to hide from the blazing sun. Apparently, it was being uncharacteristically hot the week we were there. Each sponsor had something different to offer to us, so I took tons of selfies and did random things for a few hours. I passed on most of the freebies, although I think I went to every tent to check them out.

Chirpy, Tottenham's mascot!


This hard hat was given away right away, it was too hot!


As I was waiting for J and his family to finally be done in the Fan Fest area, I wandered around the outside of the park for a bit. I came across this cool display, celebrating 20 season's of the MLS. I almost got a drink at a restaurant, but didn't want them to think I got lost from the rest of the group. I made my way back to them, then we headed into the park for the game.


When we arrived, the teams were warming up. We took some pictures and they went to wander, we went to grab drinks and to head to our seats. It had been a long day already, I was ready to sit and watch the game. Sucks to be me! We were sitting in the Spurs cheering section, so I didn't sit at all. Well, actually, during half time I was able to sit.



The Spurs supporters section was pretty cool to experience, since it was my first time. I've heard most of their chants/songs from J, so I knew them, but did not participate. They are a rowdy bunch, but good for the most part. Like I mentioned before, it was cool to see how much these people love their team and support their team.



I will say, the opening ceremony was really dramatic. I was sitting there drinking my wine and smirking the whole time!




The actual game was really good. Spurs played to win, but so did the All-Stars. All three goals that were scored were gorgeous! I was excited to see Dempsey, Kaka, and Villa from the all-starts -- two of which ended up scoring! It was a really good game, the Spurs put their second line-up in the second half and they dominated the All-Starts second line up, although they couldn't come out with a win. The skyline was gorgeous, it was the perfect back drop for the second half.








During half-time J's brother won a contest to be on the field. Again, there goes that marketing stuff at its finest ;) So we saw him on the big screen, since he was facing the other side of the stadium.
Half time fun with Harry Kane!
After the game, we stayed until most people had left. We wanted to hit up the big team store go get some mementos, but sadly, we left empty handed. Everything we wanted was sold out! The Fox Soccer crew was recording their post-game show, which we'd seen earlier, but we stopped again to take pics as they were wrapping up their evening. Stuart Holden was awesome and took pics with us all, he even joked with us, seemed like a great guy!





After all was said and done, we were dropped off back at our hotel. Since we didn't eat at the game, we got room service. It was surprisingly good, or we were  just that hungry!


All-in-all, our first day in Denver was pretty awesome. We experienced something new together and I was able to see firsthand how fun and crazy Spurs fans truly are. I'm not sure if we'll ever go to another MLS All Star game, so I'm grateful for this experience and thankful it brought me to a new city

A year and a half later, I'm officially a Tottenham fan!
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