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Charlotte's Soccer Momentum Grows As The Gold Cup Returns

Moises Munoz; Gold Cup; Soccer
Sarafina Wright
Moises Munoz

An international soccer tournament is returning to Charlotte this weekend. Next month European Soccer clubs Arsenal and Roma will play here as well. Is Charlotte becoming a premier destination for soccer fans? 

On Sunday, Bank of America Stadium will fill with an estimated 50,000 fans representing Mexico and Martinique as they face off in the second group stage of the 2019 Gold Cup. Cuba and Canada take the field before that match. Moises Munoz, a former goalie for Mexico says the tournament being in Charlotte is important.

“We want the city to have soccer now and try to make this sport as big as basketball or football is in Charlotte.”

Munoz says the Gold Cup, backed by FIFA’s Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football or CONCACAF, is the most important tournament for the countries it represents. Just four years ago he won his second Gold Cup trophy with Mexico. Now he sees himself as an ambassador for the global sport. On Friday, he partnered with Allstate uptown for “A Day of Play.” He spoke with fans, played soccer with kids, all while showing off a few moves.

Munoz says he fondly remembers his days of competing.

“It’s just really fun to play against all these nations and all these squads, especially when we play against the U.S. team. This is kind of like a very important game.”

Munoz says that he’s rooting for Mexico, but that the United States is a tough contender. Mexico has won the Gold Cup seven times, with the U.S. right behind them at six. He says as far as predictions those are the teams to watch. The Gold Cup Final is July 7 in Chicago.

Sarafina Wright is the "All Things Considered" producer for WFAE 90.7 Charlotte’s NPR Source. Before coming to WFAE, she worked as a political correspondent for EBONY.com, staff writer at the Washington Informer and editor-in-chief of the WI Bridge in Washington, DC. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Howard University. When she's not writing professionally, Sarafina can be found blogging at www.sarafinasaid.com or hanging out with her book club, Charlotte West.