*HOUSTON (en español) - The City of Houston and Lone Star Sports and Entertainment announce, today, a partnership in bringing another championship sports event to Houston. On Wednesday, January 12, 2005 Houston will serve as the host city for the InterLiga Championship of soccer.
InterLiga is the premier, and only, official Mexican Club competition that occurs in the United States. Additionally it is the primary way for a Mexican Club team to gain entry into the prestigious and financially lucrative Copa Libertadores. Copa Libertadores is one of the most prestigious international club competitions in the world with 36 teams from South America and Mexico competing.
The InterLiga tournament will begin January 5 and end with a doubleheader in Houston on January 12. Teams competing in InterLiga will be Atlante, Guadalajara (Chivas), Santos, Jaguares of Chiapas, Club America, Tigres and Toluca with the two top teams, decided in Houston, advancing. The final team in the field will be either Pachuca or Monterrey who will play an elimination game to determine who advances.
America and Santos played in Copa Libertadores earlier this year, and both reached the second round.
Houston hosted qualifying round games this January, including the largest crowd of the tournament, but worked closely with Soccer United Marketing to secure the championship event for 2005. "By hosting the championship games we know that the two winners at Reliant Stadium will be traveling to play in Copa Libertadores", commented Jamey Rootes President of Lone Star Sports and Entertainment. "A championship is on the line and these players will be giving everything they have to win these games at Reliant Stadium."
Reliant Stadium has hosted several successful soccer events in its brief history and this will be another great night to show off our facility and our city. Reliant Stadium was voted Best U.S. Crowd in 2003 for providing the setting for one of the most memorable atmospheres for a soccer game played in the U.S. Almost 70,000 fans packed the Reliant Stadium for a sell-out crowd that provided equal support for both the U.S. Men's National Team and the visiting Mexicans in a city-wide event billed as "La Revancha en la Cancha."
The city is providing its support of the event in continuing a partnership, with the Texans, that began with the Super Bowl this past January. "The city is very excited to help bring InterLiga to Houston and provide a championship event for the many soccer fans in our city." "By hosting the championship event we will also generate significant interest throughout Texas and Mexico providing another opportunity to show off our Houston hospitality.
"While this is an event that will have a lot of appeal for the Mexican American community it is also an event that will be exciting for all sports fans," commented Rootes. Because of the intensity of these matches fans will witness some of the top players in the world playing at their best."
In addition to the great soccer at Reliant Stadium, the city and the Texans plan to make this a celebratory event for the local community. There will be opportunities for businesses, civic groups, political and community leaders all to be involved.