Bethlehem Steel FC, the professional soccer team that plays within view of the iconic Bethlehem Steel blast furnaces at SteelStacks, is partnering with the nonprofit ArtsQuest to present the 2018 Lehigh Valley SoccerFest & Viewing Party at SteelStacks this summer. The festival will kick off with the start of the World Cup in Russia June 14 and run through the finals match July 15.
During SoccerFest, the SteelStacks campus will air all of the World Cup matches on the Levitt Pavilion and PBS39 outdoor screens on the campus. Several of the matches will also be broadcast in Spanish, including the matches taking place during the free Sabor Latin Festival at SteelStacks June 22-24.
On June 16, Bethlehem Steel FC will present a free soccer clinic for children ages 5-12, and on June 23 Lehigh Valley United will offer a multi-lingual soccer clinic that includes coaches and staff from the region’s soccer and youth soccer programs. The multi-lingual clinic is designed to celebrate the many cultures that come together every four years for the World Cup, as well as the appeal that soccer, the World’s Game, has around the globe.
“We are excited to partner with ArtsQuest on this year’s Lehigh Valley SoccerFest at SteelStacks,” Bethlehem Steel FC Director of Business Operations Scott Evans says. “The world’s most popular sport during the world’s largest spectacle gives us the opportunity to continue to build awareness of pro soccer in the Lehigh Valley. We are looking forward to being a part of the entertaining atmosphere.”
During SoccerFest, Bethlehem Steel FC and ArtsQuest will also celebrate the original Bethlehem Steel Football Club, which played from 1907–’30, and its most well-known player, Archie Stark. In the 1924-’25 season, Stark’s first with the team, he scored 67 goals, a season record that remained in place for 87 years until Argentinian star Lionel Messi broke the record during the 2011-’12 season for FC Barcelona.
On June 16, Bethlehem Steel Football Club historian Daniel Paul Morrison will offer a free presentation on how the Bethlehem Steel attracted players from England, Scotland, Wales and other European countries in the 1910s and ’20s, helping it become one of the original soccer powerhouses in America. Other activities and attractions planned for SoccerFest include family and arts programming, soccer tennis games and more. Complete details on the 2018 event will be announced later this spring.
“We are thrilled to once again air all the action from soccer’s biggest stage,” says ArtsQuest Chief Operating Officer Curt Mosel. “This year’s SoccerFest at SteelStacks will focus on the international popularity of soccer, tying in many of the cultures represented here in the Lehigh Valley. Thanks to the support of Bethlehem Steel FC and the hard work of SoccerFest Planning Committee Members Discover Lehigh Valley, Klunk & Millan Advertising, Garfield Group and Lehigh Valley United the event is shaping up to be a dynamic, fun-filled celebration of the World’s Game.”
Currently in its third season in the United Soccer League, Bethlehem Steel FC is the official USL affiliate of Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer. Also owned and operated by Keystone Sports and Entertainment LLC, the team started its inaugural season March 25, 2016 at FC Montreal and played the home opener at Lehigh University’s Goodman Stadium on April 3, 2016. Last season, Steel FC qualified for its first USL Cup Playoff appearance.
Launched in 2014, the Lehigh Valley SoccerFest & Viewing Party has aired the matches from World Cup Brazil™, the Women’s World Cup and the Copa America Centenario over the past four years. In 2014, more than 50,000 people visited the SteelStacks campus for the festival. The following summer, 8,500 people came out to watch the U.S. Women’s national soccer team top Japan in the finals of the Women’s World Cup from Canada.
Partners helping to make the free SoccerFest & Viewing Party possible include Bethlehem Steel FC, Discover Lehigh Valley, Kwik Goal, Klunk & Millan Advertising, Garfield Group and Lehigh Valley United. For more information, visit www.discoverlehighvalley.com/soccerfest or like www.facebook.com/LVsoccerfest/.