JACKSONVILLE – The momentum for soccer in Jacksonville continues to build, and Tuesday's announcement is a major win for the entire Jacksonville region.
At a press conference at EverBank Field Tuesday, the City of Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Jaguars, SMG and Jacksonville Armada FC announced that the U.S. Men's National Team will play a FIFA World Cup qualifying match at EverBank Field against Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday, September 6.
The match is the final match of the semifinal round of 2018 World Cup qualifying, and could be vital for the United States to advance to the final round of qualifying.
"It's a big deal for Jacksonville, the announcement of this match," Jacksonville mayor Lenny Curry said. "It speaks to something much bigger. When you see what's been happening in economic development, what's happening with our sporting events, we are putting our footprint nationally and internationally."
The U.S. Men's National team holds a 4-0-0 record at EverBank Field, with friendly match wins against Israel in 1997, Germany in 1999, Scotland in 2012 and Nigeria in 2014.
The Jaguars and SMG Jacksonville will co-promote the match with the U.S. Soccer Federation. The record crowd for the "send-off series" match in June 2014 against Nigeria helped Jacksonville emerge as the host city for the September match.
The Jaguars understand the importance of bringing more national events to EverBank Field and downtown Jacksonville, not only for the impact on the local economy but to help the status of the Jaguars organization in the community.
"It's a huge day for EverBank Field, it's a huge day for Downtown Jacksonville, it's a huge day for the region and the economic benefits that this event will bring, and as such it's a great day for the Jaguars," Jaguars President Mark Lamping said. "This is just one more step in a long journey to make sure we have a stable, successful NFL franchise in Jacksonville for many, many years to come."
Curry added that the partnership between the City of Jacksonville and the Jaguars has been vital, even behind the scenes.
"The partnership we have with the Jaguars… has been phenomenal," Curry said. "The resources they have, the commitment to the Jaguars organization of Shad Khan and Mark Lamping; our ability to leverage that, their willingness to partner with us, has made so many things possible.
"We've had some recent jobs announcements, (an) international company opening a headquarters here in Jacksonville. There have been so many other jobs announcements that Shad and Mark both behind the scenes were instrumental in. This partnership is important and it's going to continue to put us on the map in the future."
The United States holds a 16-2-4 all-time record against Trinidad and Tobago, including an 11-0-1 mark on U.S. soil.