By: Logan Alexander
Jacksonville’s date with the New York Cosmos seems like so long ago as we have been subject to endure such a long wait until the boys in blue hit the pitch again. Thankfully, there is only one more day to suffer through the pain of not seeing the love of your life play the beautiful game. One beautiful remedy to mid-season breaks are the scheduled friendlies. Coming to Jacksonville is a club of global supremacy and dominance, known as Boca Juniors.
Hailing from Buenos Aires, Argentina is a club comprised of much history and accomplishments on the domestic and international level of football. 63 titles have been awarded to the Blue and Gold in their history which includes 30 Argentina Primera Division championships, 11 domestic cups, and 18 international competitions. The Argentine side has won as many international championships as A.C. Milan and Real Madrid. Interestingly enough, Boca Juniors are one of only eight teams to win the CONMEBOL’s treble in South America and 40% of the Argentine population support the club. Currently Boca Juniors sit second in the Primera Division with 31 points(9-4-2) midway through the season and only behind San Lorenzo in the table.
Along with the success of winning titles, Boca Juniors youth academy has also produced world class players. Most notably to many fans of this generation is Carlos Tevez who plays his trade as a striker at Juventus, but a move is pending for him to return to his boyhood team. In 381 appearances Tevez has scored 174 goals over 14 years of his career. Oscar Ruggeri is another talent that emerged from the Boca Juniors youth system and he is arguably the best center back product from Argentina is the country’s history. Ruggeri went on to make 517 appearances in his career, including 147 for the Argentine giants and 97 for the national team. This legendary player also went on to play for the likes of Real Madrid and featured in three World Cups. Other players that have come from the youth academy are Nicolas Burdisso, Ever Banega, and Fernando Gago.
Saturday night will be bittersweet for Jacksonville Armada Football Club. Coach Guillermo Hoyos played club football at Boca Juniors for three years as a midfielder from 1986-1989. Also midfielder Lucas Rodriguez featured in the Boca Juniors youth system for four years. Jacksonville’s roster includes five other Argentinian players and general manager Dario Sala is also Argentine born and had the opportunity to play as a goalkeeper against Boca Juniors. For much of the roster this match upcoming is a homecoming, but it is also a chance to shock the world.
This number has been talked about for at least a week now but it displays a huge significance. Over 100 million people will be able to catch the broadcast of Jacksonville Armada vs. Boca Juniors on Saturday. The Fleet have an opportunity to show 100 million who we really are, an expansion club, but not one that is a pushover. David has the ability to slay Goliath in front of one of the potential biggest audiences in soccer history in Jacksonville.
Armada have come off of an up and down Spring Season where they finished 6th in the NASL table, with a 3-3-4 record. Against Boca Juniors, the boys in blue will kickoff their campaign for the fall season in hopes of earning a playoff position and eventually going on to win the Soccer Bowl in November. A win for Jacksonville would definitely boost morale in the locker room before their clash with Ottawa next week, but it would also be the first piece of silverware in the trophy case. The International Community Cup is up for grabs as Jacksonville meet Boca Juniors in a historic, first ever friendly match in Armada’s club history.