• Celebrate The Start Of Soccer Season With These Great Local Teams

    Grab the family and cheer on one of these local teams this season.

    By Cassandra Aquart

    With Super Bowl LI in the books and a hint of spring in the air, sports fans are turning their attention to Spring Training to get an intimate look at their favorite baseball team, and are gearing up for March Madness to see if their basketball team is going to hoist the trophy this year.

    But March is also the start of the soccer season, and with a few teams located in the area, you and the entire clan can spend some quality time watching a soccer match filled with dynamic dribbling, thrilling passes, and sharp shooting. We’ve rounded up a few of New York’s professional soccer teams so the family can experience an exciting match with a roaring crowd.

    The New York Red Bulls is New York City’s first Major League Soccer team, and is probably the most well known. Formerly the MetroStars, the club was renamed when Red Bull purchased the team in 2006. With a roster loaded with high profile players, the New York Red Bulls made it to the MLS Cup in 2008, losing to the Columbus Crew, and last year, the team finished first in the Eastern Conference. This year, if the Red Bulls want to be competitive, midfielders Sacha Kljestan and Gonzalo Verón and forward Bradley Wright-Phillips will need to have another great season. The team plays in the Red Bull Arena located in Harrison, New Jersey, one of the best soccer stadiums in the nation where fans can stomp on metal flooring. The New York Red Bulls season runs from March 5-October 22. Families can see the team play the Colorado Rapids at the Red Bull Arena on Saturday, March 11 and the Real Salt Lake on Saturday, March 25. For more information, visit newyorkredbulls.com.

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    Most casual fans have heard of the Red Bulls, but do you know about the New York City Football Club? Also part of Major League Soccer, NYCFC was founded when the Manchester City FC teamed up with the New York Yankees in May 2013. MLS’s 20 expansion team began playing in 2015 in the legendary Yankee Stadium. Last year, NYCFC finished in second place in the Eastern Conference, just one win behind its rival, the Red Bulls. With the offseason addition of midfielder Rodney Wallace, the 2015 MLC Cup champion along with exciting wide attacker Jonathan Lewis, a First Round MLS SuperDraft 2017 pick, and star veteran players such as striker David Villa and midfielder Andrea Pirlo, the NYCFC is positioning itself to have a better season than last year. The NYCFC season runs from March 5-October 22. You and your family can watch the team in action against D.C. United at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, March 12 and on Saturday, March 18 when the team plays the Montreal Impact. For more information, visit nycfc.com.

    In addition to the MLS teams, New York City is also home to the New York Cosmos, which is part of the North American Soccer League. The history of the Cosmos dates back to 1971. To date, the Cosmos are the reigning NASL champions, having won their second consecutive NALS Championship and eighth overall in November 2016. This legendary club brought some of the biggest names in the world of soccer to the United States, including Pelé, Franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia, and Carlos Alberto. Though this club achieved on-field success, it was on the brink of closing its doors for a second time a couple of months ago. Without funding from its new chairman, Rocco B. Commisso, the Cosmos would not be playing this season. At its new home in MCU Park in Coney Island, Brooklyn, new and returning players Carlos Mendes, Andres Flores, Danny Szetela, and Jimmy Maurer are hoping to bring another championship to New York. The Cosmos will begin its campaign to raise another trophy when the regular season starts on March 25, ending on July 15. Families can see the Cosmos in action on Saturday, April 1 against Miami FC and on Saturday, April 22 when the club takes on Jacksonville Armada FC. For more information, visit nycosmos.com.

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