JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Soccer fever is catching on and has reached new levels in the River City. The Jacksonville Armada Football Club is cashing in on all of the World Cup excitement.
They've narrowed down two sites for play in the upcoming 2015 season. The Baseball Grounds in downtown and the University of North Florida soccer stadium are in their sights. Even though a final decision has not been made and the team is still being formed, around 2,000 people have already purchased season tickets.
In May of 2012 approximately 44,000 thousand people poured into Everbank Stadium as Team USA took on Scotland. Two years later around 52,000 people crowded Everbank to watch the U.S. beat Nigeria.
"There's a huge soccer community in Jacksonville and there has been for a long time," said Steve Livingstone.
He serves as the President of the Armada Football Club. Livingstone has watched as the sport's popularity has grown over the years in Jacksonville. He says the World Cup is giving them a boost. Capitalizing on Team U.S.A's talent they've hosted parties for fans and will continue as the team advances.
An estimated 500 soccer fans gathered at the Landing for the U.S. Versus Ghana game, 2,000 people packed into Nippers and The Shim Sham Room, as the U.S. tied to Portugal. And for Thursday's game against Germany, The Armada Football Club is hosting a luncheon at the Omni Jacksonville Hotel. The event is sold out. 300 people are anticipated to attend.
"Our fans are there, it's soccer they are very passionate about it," said Livingstone. "I don't think they can wait to see professional soccer return to Jacksonville. And we can't wait to give it to them either."
Livingstone says they're aiming to make a final decision on a playing site in July. The Next step is to start building the team itself.
The Armada will have a series of open tryouts in the next few weeks. The Armada Football Club's goal is to have their own stadium 2018.