The soccer match started as an idea jotted on a paper napkin a few years ago, said Dr. John Bieter, a professor of Basque studies Boise State University and brother of Mayor Dave Bieter. On the afternoon of April 8, he welcomed the media to the Basque Center—in Basque—and spoke of the Basque Soccer Friendly
—in English—at Albertsons Stadium on Wednesday, July 29.
"The idea of having a game in Boise was mentioned on both sides of the Atlantic," Dr. Bieter said before inviting his brother to announce the teams playing against each other this summer.
Smiling, Mayor Dave Bieter stood at the podium, telling the crowd they were in the room where he celebrated his wedding reception and his first campaign party.
"This is an exceptional sporting event, the likes of which I don't think we've ever seen in Idaho," Mayor Bieter said. "The level of soccer that we're going to be lucky enough to see, the international flavor of the whole week, is going to place Boise on a stage that we've never really been on."
Boise Mayor Dave Bieter announced the two teams that will play against each other in the Basque Soccer Friendly on Wednesday, July 29.
Bieter announced the teams that will play against each other in the Basque Soccer Friendly: Athletic Club de Bilbao
from the providence of Biscay in Spain (where many Basques immigrated from to Boise) and Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente
from Baja California, Mexico.
Athletic Club de Bibao is ranked 23rd in the world. Club Tijuana is ranked 94th.
Since Athletic Club de Bibao was created 117 years ago, the team has never played in North or South America. During the press conference, a message from Jokin Garatea, an Athletic Club representative, played on TV screens beside Bieter.
"It will be a pleasure and an honor to be with you in Boise next July in the great party and meeting of the Basques in North America," said Garatea, first in Basque and then translated.
The proceeds from ticket sales will go towards the Basque Studies
classes at Boise State University.
Dr. Bieter called the soccer match the largest sporting event in Boise's history.
"We are also doing something unprecedented," he said. "Covering the iconic blue turf [in Boise State's Albertsons Stadium] with grass. Boy."
Tickets for the Basque Soccer Friendly go on sale to the general public on Monday, April 27.