FIRST OF ALL, THE BACKGROUND
The idea for the game arose during Jaialdi 2010 as a wild dream.
“I’m not sure if it was the wine talking or the truth talking,” John Bieter of Boise State said.
Three years later, Bieter approached Boise State about the idea of bringing Athletic Bilbao — the target all along — and the school was receptive. The last two years have included a flurry of meetings, phone calls and meetings to pull off the first international soccer match in Boise history.
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HOW GOOD ARE THESE TEAMS?
International club rankings are always to be taken with a heavy dose of salt. But the latest Football Club World Rankings place Athletic Bilbao at No. 32 and Club Tijuana at No. 143. (Note: organizers originally planned to have Athletic Bilbao take on a regional MLS team, like Salt Lake, Portland or Seattle. But the MLS All-Star Game is July 29, the date of the originally scheduled game in Boise, leading Club Tijuana to fill in. D.C. United is the top-ranked MLS team at No. 181.)
ARTIFICIAL NOISE ALLOWED
Flags, drums and noisemakers are traditions at high-level soccer games, and are allowed behind the goals at all times and along the sidelines during stoppages of play.
DON’T MAKE FUN OF MEN IN SCARVES
Soccer fans wear — and wave — scarves on game days. It’s a soccer tradition for men, women and children, and a way to show off your team’s colors.
HOW LONG DOES THE GAME LAST?
There will be two 45-minute halves, plus stoppage time. There will be no overtime.
BLUE TURF IS COVERED UP
La Liga, Spain’s top league, has a contract with FIFA (soccer’s international governing body) requiring all its teams to play on grass for safety and to ensure quality of play. Club Tijuana plays its home games on a synthetic grass because hot springs under the stadium impede the growth of grass. Plus, a football field like Boise State’s blue turf was not wide enough (531/3 yards) to meet FIFA’s standards (70 yards).
The majority of soccer teams play in a 4-4-2 formation with four defenders, four midfielders and two forwards. Athletic has recently favored a 4-2-3-1 formation with four defenders, two defensive midfielders, three attacking midfielders and a single forward. Tijuana’s new manager, Ruben Romano, is reportedly bringing a 5-3-2 system with five defenders to the Xolos.
The most debated call in soccer is next to impossible to spot anywhere but on the field. Every attacker must keep two defensive players (it can but doesn’t have to include the goalkeeper) between himself and the goal when a teammate passes him the ball. Do not call it, “offsides.” It’s singular.
• Pitch = field.
• Nil = zero.
• Manager = coach.
• Striker = forward.
• Box = penalty area, or 18-yard box around the goal.
• Touchline = sideline.
• Endline = Out of bounds line at end of the field.
• Relegation = being demoted to a lower league based on position in standings. (Athletic is one of three teams in La Liga history never to be relegated).
• Promotion = jumping to a higher league based on position in standings.
• Goalkeeper or goalie is acceptable. Goaltender is not.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE SOD?
Crews begin removing the sod Sunday after a final Athletic practice. The grass is being donated to Boise Parks & Recreation, which will install it as part of two soccer fields at Ann Morrison Park. The blue turf will be restored by Wednesday.