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Somalia ,U.S, and Mexico teams headed to Boise for a faster, rougher version of soccer

Thursday July 26, 2018
Rachel Roberts

The U.S. National Arena Soccer Team challenged Brazil last summer in front of a sold-out crowd at CenturyLink Arena in Downtown Boise.

The success of last year’s international friendly will bring back Team USA for a four-team tournament Aug. 17-18 against Mexico, Colombia and Somalia.

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The tournament begins Friday, Aug. 17, with Mexico taking on Colombia at 5:30 p.m., followed by the U.S. vs. Somalia at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, Aug. 18, the losing teams meet for third place at 5 p.m., and then the winners square off at 7 p.m. for the championship.

“Last year was such a tremendous experience for our city and for the Treasure Valley soccer community that we were eager to bring arena soccer back again, and to make it an even bigger spectacle this time around,” CenturyLink Arena General Manager Eric Trapp said. “It’s going to be fast-paced and competitive, and fans are going to see some of the best arena players from around the world.”

Tickets start at $20 each night, and are good for admission to both matches. To purchase tickets, contact the CenturyLink Arena Box Office at 208-331-TIXS or visit centurylinkarenaboise.com.

Arena soccer shares many similarities with hockey, resulting in a game that is faster, rougher and higher scoring than traditional outdoor soccer.

Turf will be put over the Idaho Steelheads’ rink, but the boards and glass will remain in place.

And instead of yellow cards, players are first issued blue cards — which come with a two-minute stay in the penalty box and create power-play (or man-advantage) opportunities for the opponent.

Five players and a goalkeeper can be on the turf at once, and substitutions are done on the fly, just like in hockey. Games feature four 15-minute quarters and a halftime intermission. It’s not unusual to see double-digit scoring.

Last summer, Brazil beat the U.S. 5-1 in the international friendly in Boise. The first half was scoreless and Brazil dominated the second half, which featured a lone power-play goal for the Americans.

The rosters for all four teams headed to Boise will be released in the coming weeks.

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