Ventura Fusion announce matchup with Argentine club

VENTURA — The Ventura County Fusion, the region’s first and only world-class, championship-caliber soccer franchise, the 2010 Southwest Division title holder, and the 2009 champions of the Premier Development League (PDL), today announced it will play an international exhibition match against world-renowned side and 14-time Argentine First Division champions Club Atlético Independiente at 6:00 p.m. PDT on Friday, July 22, 2011, at Oxnard College Stadium in Oxnard.

The game, the first the Fusion have ever played against a South American club, will take place during Independiente’s weeklong pre-season training camp held at Oxnard College.

Tickets for the exhibition are now on sale and immediately available by contacting Fusion headquarters at (805) 277-9742, or by ordering online. Tickets are $15.00 each for adults, and $8.00 each for children under the age of 17, when purchased in advance.

The Independiente match, which represents the first time in Ventura County sports history an Argentine team has visited the area, will be the Fusion’s second international friendly of the summer. The team recently announced it will challenge five-timeFootball Association (FA) Challenge Cup winnerand Barclays®(English) Premier League side West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, July 17, also at Oxnard College.

In addition to its game against the Fusion, Independiente, known to its legion of international fans as “The “Red Devils” (Los Diablos Rojos) or “The Red” (El Rojo), will also face Mexican First Division club Monterrey on Thursday, July 16, and the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer (MLS) on Wednesday, July 27, as part of its pre-season preparation.

With 16 international championships, including seven Copa Libertadores titles, Independiente is one of the top three teams in Argentina sports history, and one of the most successful football clubs in the world, alongside fellow Argentine First Division team Club Atlético Boca Juniors (Boca Juniors), A.C. Milan of Italy’s Serie A, and Real Madrid Club de Fútbol(Real Madrid) of Spain’s La Liga. For its many triumphs on the world stage, Independiente is often referred to by soccer analysts and journalists as “The King of Cups” (El Rey de Copas).

“It’s an incredible honor to host and challenge one of the most prestigious clubs in South America, and one of the most successful organizations in all of world soccer,” said Ranbir Shergill, general manager of the Ventura County Fusion. “Independiente is certain to bring a unique and exciting style of play, and a highly-talented roster of competitors, that will electrify Southern California soccer fans. We hope this is the beginning of many more South American clubs coming to Ventura to train and play exhibitions against the Fusion. With the Independiente match coming just five days after the Albion friendly, and coinciding with the end of our 2011 PDL season, July is shaping up to be a very busy, but important, month for the team.”

About Club Atlético Independiente

Founded on January 1, 1905, and with its headquarters and state-of-the-art stadium located in the city of Avellaneda just south of Buenos Aires, Independiente is one of the oldest clubs in Argentina, a founding member of the Argentine Football Federation (FAF), and the third winningest club in Argentine First Division history with 14 championships. Along with Boca Juniors, it is the only other club never to have been relegated (i.e., removed) from First Division play, and it has consistently performed at a high level since it officially joined the league eight decades ago in 1931.

With a record seven victories in the event since 1964, Independiente is the ultimate champion of the Copa Libertadores, the most important soccer tournament on the continent, and the only club to have won four consecutive competitions (1972-75). It is also the only team to have competed in multiple final matches and remained undefeated. In addition to its Copa Libertadores triumphs, the Red Devils have won three Copa Interamericana, two Supercopa Sudamericana, one Recopa Sudamericana, and two Intercontinental Cup titles. The club is the reigning champion of the Copa Sudamericana, which it won in 2010 after going 16 years without an international tournament success.

Independiente is led by manager (i.e., head coach) Antonio “El Turco” Mohamed,a striker who starred in both the Argentine and Mexican First Divisions during a 15-year professional career. Mohamed, who played mostly in Mexico before retiring in 2003, helped Argentina win the Copa America in 1991. The team’s stars include defenders and Argentine natives Leonel Galeano, Carlos Matheu, and Eduardo Tuzzio; Columbia national and defender Iván Vélez, and Argentine goalkeeper Adrián Gabbarini. Diego Forlán, the well-known Atlético Madrid striker who began his career with Independiente, won the 2010 FIFA™ World Cup Golden Ball, the prestigious award given to the best player of the tournament, for his five-goal performance during the tournament.

Ticket Pricing and Availability

Tickets for the Fusion-Independiente match are now on sale and immediately available by contacting Fusion headquarters at (805) 277-9742, or by ordering online at Ticket prices are $15.00 each for adults, and $8.00 each for children under the age of 17, if purchased in advance. At the gate, ticket prices are $20.00 each for adults, and $12.00 each for youths. All Fusion season ticket holders will be admitted free. Located at 4000 South Rose Avenue in Oxnard (93033), Oxnard College Stadium will open at 5:15 p.m. PDT on the day of the match, with kickoff time set for 6:00 p.m. PDT.