MLS Desert Cup in TucsonPosted: Updated:
TUCSON, Ariz. -- With spring training gone, and the Accenture Match Play tournament in doubt, professional sports seem to be waving goodbye to Tucson. But this weekend Major League Soccer is making a stop in town.
The transformation is underway, fresh paint lining the grass as Hi Corbett field becomes Tucson's newest sports destination.
"We've been dealt some heavy blows last few years with the loss of spring training. This is our chance to rebuild professional sports in the City of Tucson," said City Councilman Paul Cunningham.
Baseball is gone, but soccer is moving in. The 2011 MLS Desert Cup will feature four matches in two days, Including a major match-up between FC Tucson and the New York Red Bulls.
"We're expecting up to 10,000 fans here at Hi Corbett," said Cunningham.
The former spring training home of the Colorado Rockies, Hi Corbett's seats have been empty for a while. And a packed house this weekend means big bucks.
Soccer's rolling into Tucson at a time when everything else seems to be leaving.
"There's an appetite for professional soccer in town and this is a time to tap that," FC Tucson Manager Greg Foster.
Soccer fans say they're excited to bring the world's most popular sport to the Old Pueblo.
"If it's here, and I can go, I'm gonna take advantage of it," said a fan.
Councilman Paul Cunningham pushed hard to make this weekend's event a reality, but he says it's just one step in the right direction.
FC Tucson will play in a semi-pro league throughout the summer. Officials hope FC Tucson can one day even become an MLS franchise.