Calls came into Eric Edelstein’s office Tuesday morning faster than he could take them.
“At this point any 916 area code I see, I’m grabbing it,” said Edelstein, president of the Reno Aces Triple-A baseball team. “I don’t know who it is or what’s going on, but it probably has something to do with our match.”
Edelstein also heads up fledgling Reno FC 1868, the USL soccer expansion franchise that begins play in 2017.
But as a preview for Reno soccer fans, the Aces will host a friendly match between Republic FC and Liverpool FC U-21s on Wednesday night in the first professional soccer match at Greater Nevada Field, a stadium with a capacity of 9,000.
Edelstein and his staff already are learning the challenges they will face next season when their stadium becomes a full-time multipurpose baseball and soccer facility.
None of us would have ever thought we’d be in a position to have a Premier League club, albeit an under-21 version, to be here in Reno. We’re just excited to carry the torch and help spread the good word of soccer the way Republic FC has done in Sacramento.
Eric Edelstein, Reno FC 1868 president
“It’s all about opportunity,” Edelstein said. “Fortunately we’ve got a terrific ownership group here that is willing to try some things and do some things that are new and sometimes scary. We jumped on it.”
The scary part is trying to put together a match with less than a month’s notice.
“We have had 3 1/2 weeks to get the word out and get people to want to come,” Edelstein said. “That’s a little uncomfortable because we usually have months to prepare for events.”
For Wednesday’s match, the Aces have laid 10,000 square feet of sod to cover the infield dirt on the baseball diamond. After the match, Edelstein said the turf will be removed and likely donated to the community.
He said the Aces will re-turf the diamond when Republic FC plays Real Monarchs SLC in a USL match in Reno on June 11.
“We already developed a partnership with a local sod farm and they have planted our exact strain of grass that we have at the field here,” Edelstein said. “They are basically growing our own patch that will be cut out and brought here for soccer. …We’re really doing our best not only to have a great playable surface but also to have a real strong aesthetic.”
Some Republic FC personnel will be on hand to offer their expertise and help with a few match duties. The match will be streamed live on YouTube with Aces staff handling the technical side and Republic FC’s regular announcing team of Rob McAllister and Kevin Goldthwaite handling the broadcast.
We’re definitely looking forward to going to Reno To play Liverpool anywhere is fantastic. … Hopefully the Reno people will enjoy it and we can put on a great show like we did the other night.
Republic FC coach Paul Buckle
“(Wednesday) is their version of Sacramento Soccer Day, when we launched the club at Raley Field (in) 2013,” said Erika Bjork, Republic FC’s vice president of marketing and communications. “They are using it as a test run for their staff and to build up an audience.”
Edelstein and Bjork see the Reno-Sacramento partnership becoming a natural rivalry because of the proximity of the clubs.
Republic FC coach Paul Buckle thinks his team and the Liverpool FC U-21s will provide an entertaining match. Republic FC defeated Liverpool 2-1 Saturday night at Bonney Field.
“We’re definitely looking forward to going to Reno,” Buckle said. “To play Liverpool anywhere is fantastic. … Hopefully the Reno people will enjoy it and we can put on a great show like we did the other night.”
While Edelstein and his staff have worked long hours leading up to the match, he’s looking forward to the end result.
“None of us would have ever thought we’d be in a position to have a Premier League club, albeit an under-21 version, to be here in Reno,” he said. “We’re just excited to carry the torch and help spread the good word of soccer the way Republic FC has done in Sacramento.”
Republic FC’s matches at Reno’s Greater Nevada Field
Today: vs. Liverpool FC U-21s, 7 p.m.
June 11: vs. Real Monarchs SLC, 7:30 p.m.