ST. LOUIS – The Downtown West neighborhood in St. Louis is kicking preparations into high gear as excited soccer fans count down the days until the first home match for St. Louis City SC on Saturday.
St. Louis City SC will play their first home match in a sold-out 20,000-seat CITYPARK stadium.
“To watch the transition of the first steel beams be putting in over there at CITYPARK to where we are today is really exciting and rewarding,” said Cameron Schoeffel, Union Station director of sales, marketing, and entertainment.
However, with large crowds come safety concerns, with crime on the rise and an execution-style murder occurring downtown just this Monday.
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department will send out more patrols and use more security to get ready for tens of thousands of fans, as well as tourist attractions like the newly opened soccer bar, The Pitch, just steps away from the stadium.
“It’s not really anything we’ve ever had in recent memory, at least in the last decade or so,” Schoeffel said. “So for us, it’s going to be great seeing all the growth here in Downtown West, and hopefully that trickles into all of downtown.”
He expects up to 60,000 people to not only attend the game and surrounding events but also to fill the restaurant.
“Down at Busch Stadium, it’s huge; Enterprise Center; all those things are little epicenters,” Schoeffel said. “So obviously being a sports crazy town, we love that, and we’re just hoping to piggyback off that and just showcase everything that we have, all the amazing attractions, food outlets, retail, everything, and anything in between.”
Preparations are already in place for the big match and all the events leading up to it, including a rally on Friday.
“I’m feeling anticipation, a little nervousness for the team, but a lot of excitement for the season to kick off at home,” said Nick Zevely.
“Everything’s kind of come together better than what I could’ve ever imagined for not only what this debut looks like but what it means to the city,” said Tim Weber, a St. Louis City SC fan. “You kind of got to pinch yourself.”
The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. If you plan on coming, you’re encouraged to leave early, as parking and traffic will be at an all-time high.