The Fan Appreciation Day get together at Times Square on May 30th was packed with enthusiastic soccer fans. And why wouldn’t it be. Behind the makeshift tent contributing to this excitable atmosphere was former U.S. National team player Alexi Lalas and Omar Gonzalez, current member of the 2014 U.S. World Cup team. The occasion was the Mariott “Gonzalez and Lalas: Defenders of Travel” campaign. This made it a special kind of pep rally as fans, passerbys, and tourists converged on the spot.
The first thing I noticed was how excited Omar was, with a ready smile, with a look in his eyes of complete readiness and excitement for this special Mariott event tour and if this is an indication of the team’ feelings, the upcoming World Cup this month should prove to be most interesting. Alexi, looked more composed, with a smirk that denoted his standing in the soccer world as he has played, been GM, and an ambassador for the game in the U.S.
Back in the Times Square block, there were several booths with different points of interest. You had one for the FIFA video game in addition to other interactive diversions such as the Marriott Penalty Kick Challenge. But the Q&A with Lalas and Gonzalez was the main attraction for the packed house. The host for this was U.S. Women’s National team member, Kelly O’Hara.
One of the activities promoted was an opportunity to interact with a photo experience which allows fans photo experiences and free giveaways. Viewing parties will take place on the days of U.S. Group games on June 26 against Ghana, June 22 vs Portugal and June 26 against Germany. The candid video series with Omar and Alexi, have proven to be quite popular and has been quite a great tramup between the U.S