Birmingham Hammers to sponsor exhibition soccer match

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — After months of fundraising and time spent generating support from across the state, a grassroots movement to bring professional soccer to Birmingham has landed an exhibition match with a professional soccer team in the Magic City.

The Atlanta Silverbacks of the North American Soccer League (NASL) will play the UAB Blazers men’s soccer team on Friday, March 21 at 7 p.m. in a match sponsored by the Birmingham Hammers.

The game is set to take place at the West Campus Field on UAB’s campus.

The Silverbacks, who are coached by United States soccer legend Eric Wynalda, are coming off a promising 2013 season. Wynalda led the Silverbacks to the NASL Soccer Bowl against the New York Cosmos, but the Silverbacks ultimately fell short of the title.

Wynalda retired from the United States Men’s National Team in 2000 as the all-time leading goal scorer. His 34-goal mark stood atop the record books until 2008 when he was passed by Landon Donovan.

UAB is coming off of a 12-5-1 season in which the Blazers led the nation in scoring for the first time in program history.

“Events like this will allow us to show leagues and investors that we can be a great place for professional soccer to find a home,” Hammers President Morgan Copes said in a statement released Monday.

All proceeds from the game will go to the Birmingham Hammers and their continued efforts to bring professional soccer to Birmingham.

The Hammers say ticket prices will be announced at a later date.

2014 WIAT-TV CBS42

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