By MAUREEN DOHERTY
LYNNFIELD — Soccer fans, rejoice!
One of the best soccer teams world, F.C. Barcelona, is coming to Lynnfield for the first and probably only time ever. And it’s free.
You read that correctly. Tomorrow night, Thursday, June 11 at 6 p.m., this world-renowned European Champion soccer club will compete in a historic veterans’ players game against the Boston Braves F.C. in the town’s new Pioneer Stadium turf field complex.
The credit for arranging to have a world-renowned team compete in Lynnfield goes to Boston Braves F.C. President Spiros Tourkakis, who is a 25-year resident of the town.
“The Boston Braves F.C. is a world leader organization in senior soccer affairs. As such we only relate, associate and play with the top soccer clubs in the world,” Tourkakis told the Villager.
“The Boston Braves are a sister Club to the other local Club I am involved with, which is the Lynnfield F.C. The only difference between these two local clubs is that while the LFC plays in the N.E. Senior Soccer League the Boston Braves play and deal only internationally,” Tourkakis said.
“The Boston Braves not only is a Lynnfield organization; in fact, it is the oldest of its kind in our town. However, because of the lack of quality fields prior to 2014 it was forced to do its activities in nearby towns. Now that we have our own fields the Braves are active in Lynnfield,” he added.
The activities of both local soccer clubs can be followed at www.bostonbraves.net and www.lynnfieldfc.com, respectively.
“This is a very unique opportunity for our youth and school sports programs to see a World Champion club come to our neighborhood exclusively for a Lynnfield team. In addition this will be a great showcase of our new sports facilities,” he said.
Not only is this family-friendly event free and open to the public, but Tourkakis said the Barcelona players are generous with their time and they will take photos with children and students during the event.
As a special treat, players of Barcelona will bring team gifts to give to spectators, he said.
European champion team
Just this past week, F.C. Barcelona became the Champion of Europe in soccer. Tourkakis was thrilled to report on this incredible coincidence of the team sending is veterans to the United States within a week of this achievement.
“This means that it is the first time ever that a European Champion team will be hosted in an American High School. Lynnfield H.S. will be the first one to have that honor, ever!” he said.
The victory was won in Berlin and the team flew home for the traditional parades and celebrations before sending their veterans to the USA today. They will tour Boston before competing against the Boston Braves, whose members have been honing their skills in anticipation of the big showcase.
“The match will feature some nice ceremonial activities in additional to the game where the former mentors of the current first Barcelona stars (Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, etc.) will take on the Braves,” Tourkakis said, who added that this event is “a great honor” for LHS and Lynnfield.