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The Cure for Soccer Fever is in New Jersey

WP_20140802_002Like many of my friends, I’m in a bit of a post World Cup hangover.  For a good month, we had access to the best soccer in the world, sometimes with more than one game a day.  While I am terribly nostalgic for those days of being spoiled soccer rotten, I know that there is a way to get my fix in.

In the NYC area, we have a top-flight MLS team of our very own.  Of course I am talking about the New York Red Bulls.  They have been members of the league since it’s inception, and play in an amazing, state of the art arena in Harrison, New Jersey.

We try to get to at least a game a year.  The Red Bulls are very involved in our soccer community and we usually find ourselves at events that they are participating in.  For instance, they were a part of the Verizon Wireless #vzwbuzz #soccerfever event that kicked off the world cup.



Note, this post is NOT sponsored by Verizon or the Red Bulls.  Just sharing here people, just sharing.

Anyhow, we have several friends who are season ticket holders, and when one of them let us know he was not going to be able to use his tickets….well, I don’t think he got all the words out before we said YES PLEASE.  Sometimes opportunity has to knock before you take time out of your day to make something happen.

Our game was Saturday, August 2 and OF COURSE the opponent was a Boston team.  Yes, we were going to see the NY Red Bulls (who play in NJ) take on the New England Revolution.  Fine by me.  What’s another wrinkle in our family’s NY-Boston rivalry?

The seats our friend the season ticket holder has are considered club level.  I had never gone “club” before, so to speak, and I was curious to see what it was like.

On the day of the match, we ended up leaving A LOT of time to get to the arena.  How much time, you ask?  Well, the Bullevard opens 3 hours before the game, and they were just setting up when we got there.  In actuality, the drive from Westchester was 40 minutes.  I was prepared for traffic.  There was none.

Now, what’s the Bullevard, you ask?  Well, it’s a great assortment of family-friendly sponsor activities.  Jordan got to play a little FIFA ’14 thanks to AT&T and their truck o’video games.  WP_20140802_16_51_25_Pro


He also took a picture as a corporate shill.  As a loyal Verizon customer with a mother who loves her Nokia Lumia Icon Windows Phone (which, yes, was a prize won from Verizon), you know he was not happy.

WP_20140802_16_52_16_ProWe spend a little time playing games (there are Red Bulls trainers doing skills drills and hosting kick arounds on the Bullevard) until the club entrance opened.  How did we know where it was?  Oh, the Red Carpet told us…



We went inside, and after the usual security check and ticket punching, we were off to the races.  Or, rather, the club lounge.  It was a good thing we were hungry.  You could definitely make a meal with everything they had inside.  Food ranged from simple kid-friendly offerings like hot dogs and house-made potato chips to more adult offerings like carved loin of pork and a RB clam bake.  I was thrilled to see a salad bar with roasted veggies and other toppings.  We had time to kill in here, and I can say we put that time to good use!

Carving station and home of the RB Clam bake
Carving station and home of the RB Clam bake
Hot Dogs and chips with Old Bay seasoning, anyone?
Hot Dogs and chips with Old Bay seasoning, anyone?

Husband and I were quite comfortable in the lounge, but Jordan was getting anxious.  He wanted to see some soccer, and he wasn’t going to wait!

"Me Want Soccer!"
“Me Want Soccer!”

We figured he’d get antsy in the seats, so we walked around the stadium.  It really is one of the finest in the land, and I do believe it would rival anything that the rest of the football world has to offer.  Even though we were stuffed to the gills, we were impressed with the offerings of food and beverage outside of the club.  I remember when the Red Bulls played at Giants Stadium and it was slim pickings for grub.  No more.  Fantastic beer selection too.

Finally, after we did a lap or two of the stadium, it was time to sit down.

Pre-game festivities
Pre-game festivities

I still resent Keith Olbermann’s comments about the Red Bulls.  He said something in one of his rants tirades Special Opinions that when you went to buy tickets to a Red Bulls match and asked what time it started, you were told, “What time can you get here?”  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The Red Bulls have an amazing base of loyal and devoted fans who show up in force to support their team.  Attendance for this match was announced at 20,800 something, which is pretty impressive for any sport.

The match was a classic from the beginning.  The Revs scored first, but the Red Bulls came back with 2 unanswered goals and won 2-1.  Jordan just loved it.  Our seats had a great view of the action, but I think it’s hard to find a bad seat in that place.  The lounge was open throughout the game, so when the men looked a little tired, I was able to run up to grab them some more popcorn.  The Gersteins officially at our weight in popcorn that night.  If you were there and found no popcorn in the club lounge, all I can say is “Sorry.  Not sorry.”


So, if you need that cure for Soccer Fever, you simply must head out to Red Bull Arena to check out a game.  We drove from Westchester, but there are many mass transit options available, as the Arena is easily accessible to fans via public transportation including the PATH Trains and NJ Transit to the Harrison Station.  It’s great for families or a bunch of friends who want a night out.  If you get a chance to go for club seats, do it!  In addition to the special entrance and access to the club lounge, you get practically on the pitch seating and VIP parking.  The next home game is August 23rd versus Montreal, but there are games in September and October as well.  Check the web site for information on special multi-game ticket packages.  Don’t wait, get your cure for soccer fever now!

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