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Top Mexican soccer team to play in Festival

LaMond Pope
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Laura J. Gardner | The Journal Gazette

Notre Dame’s Adam Mena takes control of the ball against Indiana’s Matt McKain, middle, during the first half Saturday at Parkview Field.

FORT WAYNE – The New York Yankees of Mexican soccer is coming to Fort Wayne.

Chivas Guadalajara, Mexico, will participate in the Shindigz National Soccer Festival, the festival’s executive director Terry Stefankiewicz announced Saturday.

Chivas will face Notre Dame on Aug. 16 and Indiana on Aug. 18.

Both contests will take place at IPFW’s Hefner Fields. The IU game will be televised on Fox Soccer Channel.

“They’re the biggest name in Mexican professional soccer,” Stefankiewicz said.

Indiana coach Todd Yeagley told his players just before Saturday’s exhibition with the Irish.

“They were kind of wide-eyed,” Yeagley said. “We say from a soccer standpoint our goal in the preseason is to challenge ourselves. This will be the ultimate test for us.

“This is the Yankees, the Cowboys. This is the country’s team. The buzz around hosting this is going to explode. We’re just happy that we’re involved.”

This is the first time in the 13 years of the festival that a professional team will participate.

It took about six months to get a signed contract.

“Now that I’ve had some meetings with the Hispanic chamber, the Hispanic community is ecstatic about this,” Stefankiewicz said. “When I called (Notre Dame coach) Bobby Clark and told him about Chivas, he said, ‘Terry, where are you going to seat people?’

“There will be people coming from Chicago, Detroit, Bloomington, 150-mile radius for this game. We’re really, really excited about the community being the recipient of this type of attention.”

lpope@jg.net

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