Cleveland SC Announces Friendly with Liga MX Monarcas Morelia

In exciting news that is a good indicator that the rest of the world is discovering our amateur soccer clubs, Cleveland Soccer Club has announced its first international friendly in club history. The opponent for this historic match is Mexico’s Liga MX club Monarcas Morelia Reserves. Fittingly enough, the match is scheduled for Cinco de Mayo (a popular holiday in Mexico and immigrant communities in the United States) - May 5, 2019 at Baldwin Wallace University’s George Finnie Stadium.

“When we started looking at the possibility of working with a Liga MX team, Morelia’s excitement for the idea made it an excellent partnership and helped the planning come together quickly,” said Cleveland SC president Samuel Seibert. “We’re excited to provide our fans a new kind of competitive option this preseason on Cinco de Mayo.”

Club Atlético Monarcas Morelia is a professional football club based in Morelia, Michoacán, playing in Liga MX. Like the vast majority of the professional clubs in the league, Monarcas’ reserves and academy squad include under-20, under-17, and under-15 clubs.

“We are happy that Monarcas Morelia of Liga MX accepted the invitation to play a series of three friendly matches against American clubs Cleveland SC, Buffalo FC and Kalamazoo FC,” said Global FC President Victor Delarosa. “With our main objective to connect the world of soccer, we're very grateful that our friends in the U.S. opened their communities by hosting Morelia.”

It’s a sure sign of success that the NPSL is beginning to catch the eyes of foreign clubs looking for exposure in the United States. The match will be a boost to the Liga MX club, though the league is already followed by many fans in the United States. Of course, Liga MX is the most watched league in the country (foreign or domestic) and it would be easy to infer that television ratings equal popularity. The American soccer television market, for a host of reasons, is incredibly splintered.

For Cleveland SC and the NPSL, this is a big get. It allows the players to go against great talent on the field, pressing them to grow and providing a measure of their ability. Playing Monarcas also sparks interest in the Cleveland area, particularly among the Latinx segment of the population (which makes up over 33% of the area). The match is a win-win for both clubs and the leagues involved.

Regardless of the result, having a NPSL side going up against a group of players from a top flight league in Mexico is a great indicator of the league’s growth and standing in the world’s eyes.

- Dan Vaughn