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Once again, Salt Lake City has demonstrated to the world that it is a big league town, capable of staging first-rate international and national events. The accolades flowed freely following last weekend’s World Cup soccer match at Rice-Eccles Stadium between the U.S. Men’s National Team and Costa Rica.

From Bruce Arena, the National Team’s coach:

“It was fantastic. I’ve never been in a more comfortable setting as the manager of the US team."

From star player Landon Donovan:

“They (the supporters) were passionate, they were loud, they knew what was going on in the game, and I really hope we can come back here. It was incredible.”

From a prestigious national soccer web site:

“Perhaps the Men’s National Team has found a new Soccer City USA”

Certainly, Utah, the capitol city, and more than 40-thousand fans made a positive impression. It happened in 2002 with the Olympic Winter Games, and in the nineties with an NBA All-star game and two NBA championship series.

Kudos to Dave Checketts and Dean Howes of Real Salt Lake and other soccer supporters for the vision to stage the World Cup match, and to the enthusiastic fans who supported the event.

Could it be a harbinger of professional soccer’s ultimate success in Utah? Soccer City USA does have a nice ring to it.

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