Tylerites Enjoy Game, Entertainment As Soccer Players Take On Mexican Team
By TIM MONZINGO
The packed bleachers at Clyde-Perkins Stadium on the Grace Community High School Campus erupted into applause and cheers when as Allan Arroyo hustled away from the goal.
Arroyo, playing for the East Texas United scored the first goal against the Monterrey Rayados in the Second Annual International Soccer Exhibition. The exhibition, also called the Futbol de las Rosas, benefited Tyler's Hispanic Business Alliance.
The young soccer player's father, David Arroyo, beamed with pride at his son's accomplishment against the pro team. He said the potential that comes out of the game is important for the players representing East Texas.
"It's an opportunity to play against a professional team so it can be recognized that there is talent here in Tyler," he said.
For 13-year-old Anna Wegener, who plays soccer herself, Sunday's game was a chance to observe how top players compete in real life.
"It's such a small town and seeing a team from Monterrey is really cool," she said. "It inspires you. It's a learning experience."
Bennito Noriega attended the match for the first time this year and was impressed by the turnout.
He said he's never seen a game with the amount of support and enthusiasm played in Tyler like he watched Sunday.
Noriega said he expects the game's attendance only to grow in the future.
That was a sentiment shared by Mayor Barbara Bass, who addressed the packed stands before the game.
She said the soccer culture in Tyler has grown over the years and the match is an opportunity to bring families together for an entertaining evening.
"Soccer is huge in Tyler," she said. "For us to have a strong international soccer team playing against our guys is really exciting." Soccer was Sunday night's focus, but other attractions also entertained patrons. A NASCAR stock car set up for display by the front gate showcased that event and traditional Mexican dancers whirled bright golden dresses before the game.
For parents like David Arroyo, the opportunity to have their children recognized as excellent players who can duke it out against premier players from Texas' southern neighbor, was something of which they could be proud.
"It will be a good opportunity to recognize the talent in Tyler," he said. "We just want to get them recognized."