Visitors of this site have likely figured out that I have fallen in love with the beautiful game. It has been a gradual 10-15 year courting, but the culmination was likely the 2010 World Cup, where the USA made a run through the group stage that was unforgettable. Since then, I have immersed myself on all facets of the game at both the club and national level. The US Men’s National Team (USMNT) remains at the forefront of my interest and with the World Cup just a month away, the team will be playing three games at home to get ready for the event. San Francisco, Jacksonville and New Jersey are the sites of these first matches, with the first two being played at the NFL stadium in that city (the Bay Area game will be at Candlestick, not brand-new Levi’s Stadium). Meanwhile, the New Jersey game is going to be at Red Bull Arena, the soccer-specific stadium in Harrison.
Not only is the USSF trying to get the team ready for the grand stage in Brazil by warming up with three opponents (two of them decent), but they are also trying to drum up exposure and excitement. While the interest level of the USMNT is at an all-time high, the allure of a sold-out crowd and raucous atmosphere will help the cause, hence the game being played at RBA. This also creates a ticket issue and it was decided that a lottery would be best to distribute the remaining public tickets (some have been allocated to groups like the American Outlaws, along with official supporters). I questioned the validity of a lottery as you don’t see teams in popular professional sports needing a lottery for their public tickets that immediately are snagged come playoff time. My thought is the lottery is anything but ‘random’ and that they want to sift out locations, trying to bring in out-of-towners who are very passionate.
While I’m reluctant to blast the USSF on this lottery, I’m going to, because it is beyond disorganized. Living an hour from Harrison, I have been eyeing going to this USA-Turkey game and waited quite a long time on the announcement of ticket availability. After finally learning about the lottery, I unsuccessfully looked for other means and then was disappointed about a random public “pre-sale” before the lottery, that I could have just bought tickets from. Reluctantly, I sent in my lottery request, information and the ok to charge my credit card with the two “cheapest” seating levels (a beefy $48 and $60). We were supposed to be notified on Monday (May 5) whether we were successful. An email followed at the end of that day by US Soccer stating the process is “taking longer than anticipated” and the notification of the lottery will be postponed to Wednesday, May 7. It is now Thursday, May 8th at 5:30 PM and I still have no email on the status. Keep in mind this is nearly three weeks away from a game that some might be flying in for and will want to finalize airfare. The delay certainly points to some fishyness in this whole lottery process…after all, how hard can it be to pick names at random!
The process has me frustrated and a little down on the USSF, but will not dampen my enthusiasm and support for Jurgen and the boys. Here’s hoping I’ll be sitting in Red Bull Arena June 1 with the beauty of the Outlaws and their support, along with a crowd clad in Red, White and Blue ready for Brazil.
Update…I called on Friday and they said an email would be sent in a few hours. Three days later, still no email on the lottery results. Numerous calls to the USSF ticket office went unreturned, while an email from the Red Bulls was returned staying that we will find out on Wednesday. Meanwhile, I went into My Account that was created and saw that I did not get tickets. What a fiasco of a process and I can’t believe there hasn’t been more made of it. Ugh. I did splurge and got $92 seats on StubHub, so I will be there June 1