The eyes of the soccer world will be focused on Atlanta on Wednesday (Aug. 1) when the best of Major League Soccer (MLS) takes on the Italian giants Juventus at Mercedes-Benz Stadium at 7:30 p.m. The city has (finally) become a hotbed for soccer fans, and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority’s (GWCCA) downtown Atlanta campus is an integral part of it – including hosting events for the city’s first MLS All-Star game.
But long before the Atlanta United was breaking attendance records at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the venue’s predecessor, the Georgia Dome, was whetting Atlanta futbol fans’ appetites, hosting several international friendlies and rounds of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. This built up the momentum and by the time the United came around, Atlanta – which can be a fickle professional sports town – was stoked.
Atlanta soccer fans are being treated to five days of soccer-themed entertainment – including the MLS Beltline Block Party that took place Saturday and the MLS All-Star Concert featuring 2 Chainz that happened Sunday – throughout the city and the hub of Atlanta soccer.
Tonight, July 30
Men in Blazers LIVE MLS All-Star Extravaganza starting at 6:30 tonight at the Tabernacle, located in the Centennial Olympic Park District. Roger Bennett and Michael Davies, better known as Men in Blazers, will bring their live show to Atlanta to celebrate all things soccer, featuring guest appearances by MLS All-Stars and other prominent characters of the beautiful game. Get tickets ($15) here.
Tuesday, July 31
One day before the MLS All-Star Game welcomes the most robust day of programming beginning with Juventus and MLS All-Stars’ open training sessions. Juventus will take the pitch at 10 a.m. at Mercedes-Benz Stadium followed by the MLS All-Stars. Tickets are $10 and are good for entry to both sessions, available here.
Tuesday evening, the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground in Marietta will play host to a doubleheader as the fifth annual Special Olympics Unified Sports All-Star Showcase precedes the annual MLS Homegrown Game presented by Energizer. The Unified Sports All-Star soccer teams will play an 11 on 11 match, featuring athletes with and without intellectual disabilities representing MLS clubs. The match will be livestreamed on MLS YouTube beginning at 6 p.m. The MLS Homegrown Game will showcase the next generation of MLS stars against Tigres UANL, the reigning Mexican league’s Under-20 champion. Tickets for this doubleheader are $15, available here.
Wednesday, Aug. 1
The festivities will continue at the Soccer Celebration presented by Scott, an interactive fan zone with music, games, autographs and giveaways taking place on the GWCCA’s International Plaza outside Gate 2 of Mercedes-Benz Stadium over a four-hour window leading up to the main event – the MLS All-Stars taking on the seven-time defending Italian champions Juventus. The Soccer Celebration at International Plaza is from 3-7 p.m. and is free and open to the public.
View the full list of activities surrounding the MLS All-Star Game presented by Target here.
Six players from Atlanta United will be participating in the events. Brad Guzan was voted as the goalkeeper, with Five Stripes captain Michael Parkhurst joining him on the defensive end. Atlanta United’s dynamic attack, which leads the league in scoring, is heavily featured among this year’s Fan XI. Miguel Almirón, Ezequiel Barco and Darlington Nagbe are three of the four midfielders, with MLS Golden Boot leader Josef Martínez leading the forwards. With the game being played in Atlanta, “Tata” Martino will coach the 2018 MLS All-Stars.
What happens to the soccer celebration if it is raining