Orlando, start your engines.
The Orlando Pride will make history this summer when its hosts Racing Louisville FC at Daytona International Speedway. The game will be the marquee event of the first-ever Daytona Soccer Fest, closing the one-of-a-kind weekend on Sunday, July 3 and 8 p.m. ET.
As part of Tuesday’s grand announcement, Pride head coach Amanda Cromwell and three players were invited to the track to speak with media and tour the facility, and all seemed blown away by the enormous 123,500-seat grandstand and 2.5-mile track.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said defender Toni Pressley from the infield. “Even standing here, it’s so grand. I don’t think I ever realized how amazing this track is. To be able to play soccer here, never been done before, that’s really amazing.”
“I was driving here, and when I saw the stand and, I mean, it’s amazing, honestly, like breathtaking,” added Celia, one of the Pride’s new acquisitions for 2022. “I think it’s gonna be a really good opportunity and a fabulous setting for us to play.”
The Pride game will be the centerpiece of a weekend festival that also includes concerts from Chance the Rapper, who will play just before the Pride’s match on Sunday, as well as a Saturday concert from Rauw Alejandro, a match between Colombian giants Deportivo Cali and América de Cali, and fireworks following the Sunday evening match.
Perhaps most notably, the match will be a regular season game that counts for the NWSL standings. Often, matches played in special venues like this are exhibitions or friendlies, but it was important to the Pride to play a game with a tangible meaning for the season.
“I think it was important to everybody,” said Cromwell. “The promoters, the speedway, the fans. You want a game to be meaningful when you have an event like this. It’s such an iconic place…The NWSL is on board with making sure we have these matches in places that the fans can jump on board, CBS jumps on board, and we can just keep growing the game.”
The game also provides an opportunity to showcase soccer to the motorsports community, a wildly different fanbase both culturally and demographically. Each of the players mentioned their excitement at the chance to show what they can do to a new audience.
“It’s so massive for us,” said Pressley. “Especially bridging the gap between NASCAR and soccer, being able to market ourselves to these fans as well…and being exposed to a different kind of audience, hopefully we can keep some of those fans and keep the game growing.”
With the announcement made, the Pride will now turn their attention to their 2022 NWSL regular season home opener against NJ/NY Gotham FC this Sunday night at Exploria Stadium.
Tickets for the match are on sale here.
Daytona Soccer Fest Ticket Info:
2022 Pride Season Ticket Members receive tickets for the full-slate of July 3 festivities as part of their season ticket package, with more information coming from Member Services Team.
Fans can receive a 5% discount on tickets to the match and surrounding DAYTONA Soccer Fest events using the code ORLANDOPRIDE at www.daytonasoccerfest.com, with both one- and two-day passes available.