WASHINGTON, D.C. (Thursday, August 1, 2002) - The MLS All-Star weekend traditionally offers fans of all ages soccer-themed activities that combine fun and skill. This year's event takes the tradition to another level with the opening of a day-long soccer-theme park called the 2002 MLS All-Star Soccer Fest. The event will take place at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown, Maryland on Friday, August 2 from 10:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET. Admission to the park is free.
The Soccer Fest set-up is a soccer fan's dream come true, with interactive entertainment for the entire family. Those in attendance can win prizes by participating in a variety of skill challenges including: the Freekick, Fastest Player Competition, Juggling Contests, the Power Shot, Obstacle Course, Target Kick, Goalkeeper Challenge, Soccer Tennis, Human Foosball, Chip Shot, and the Corner Kick. The event will also host another edition of MLS' official national soccer skills competition: MLS Dribble, Pass & Score(tm) (boys and girls 6-14 years of age). What's more, not only can supporters test their soccer skills with various interactive challenges but they can also rub shoulders with the top American players in the game today.
The MLS All-Stars will be holding an open practice session at the SoccerPlex (10:45 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.). In addition, the U.S. National Team will also be in attendance, meeting fans and signing autographs. The MLS and U.S. All-Stars, who will be adversaries in the MLS All-Star Game on Saturday, will come together to participate in three autograph sessions (kicking off at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.) while John Harkes, Brian Maisonneuve, Richard Mulrooney and several D.C. United players will be hosting four free soccer clinics in collaboration with MLS Camps (11:45 a.m., 1:45 p.m., 3:15 p.m., 5:45 p.m.).
In between autograph sessions, clinics and skills challenges, fans can take a break and watch the best local youth soccer talent as D.C. United's Y-League teams take the field for four high-profile exhibition games. D.C. United's Under-15 boys side will take on their Richmond Kickers counterparts (12:00 p.m.), the Under-14 United boys squad faces PDA of New Jersey (1:30 p.m.), United's Under-14 girls team will play an intra-squad scrimmage (3:00 p.m.), the United Under-17 boys team takes on the Herndon Blast (4:00 p.m.) while United's Under-16 boys team will close out the series of contests with a match against the Chesapeake Dragons (5:30 p.m.).
One of the afternoon's highlights is the referee clinic (4:00 p.m.) featuring 2002 World Cup referee Brian Hall. In fact, the entire All-Star Game officiating crew (including FIFA assistant referees Craig Lowry, Nathan Clement and MLS referee Gerry Corrie) will be on hand to field questions and perform live referee demonstrations. Although primarily designed for nationally registered referees in the five surrounding states, the event is also open to the public. Other featured attendees include U.S. Soccer's Esse Baharmast and MLS' Joe Machnik.
The all-day event will take place against a musical background with a live DJ on-site. The musical highlight of the day will be a performance by the up-and-coming Latin pop/R&B sister trio Miah (1:30 - 2:00 p.m.).
Note: The MLS All-Star News Conference/Luncheon, which will feature Commissioner Don Garber's State of the League address, is a ticketed event open to media members only.