Rapids forward Nicolas Hernandez celebrates a goal by Terry Cooke against FC Dallas during the first half of Game 1 of the 2006 MLS Western Conference semifinals. (AP / Jack Dempsey)
Something Scottish this way comes.
Celtic FC, winner of 40 league titles in Scotland, will face Major League Soccer's all-star team this summer at the Colorado Rapids' Dick's Sporting Goods Park, an MLS source confirmed Wednesday.
The event, likely to take place in late July or early August, is the first of its kind for the Rapids and will be announced today at a news conference at The Pinnacle Club downtown.
Governor Bill Ritter, MLS deputy commissioner Ivan Gazidis, MLS senior vice president of marketing Dan Courtemanche and Rapids managing director Jeff Plush are scheduled to be in attendance.
The game will be the second showcase event for the Rapids' new stadium, which will kick off the MLS season April 7 in a nationally televised game against D.C. United.
Last season's all-star game was Aug. 5 at the Chicago Fire's new Toyota Park, and featured reigning English Premier League champions Chelsea, which has a roster of superstars arguably second only to Spanish giants Real Madrid.
The MLS team, which included then-Rapids goalie Joe Cannon, defeated Chelsea 1-0.
While not as extravagant as the all-star galas associated with the NBA, NHL or MLB, the MLS game generates significant revenue and attention, said John Guppy, president and CEO of the Chicago Fire.
"From a Chicago perspective, the all-star game against Chelsea last year was a very high-profile event," Guppy said. "In the first year of a new stadium, to be able to host an event of that magnitude clearly brought a lot of attention to the building, the Chicago Fire and Major League Soccer."
Guppy said no study was done on the economic impact of the all-star game locally, only that it sold out well in advance and the average ticket price was around three times the price of a regular-season game.
The contest against Celtic would be the fourth all-star game in five years against a club from another country.
Celtic, which is based in Glasgow and is commonly known as the Hoops or the Bhoys, was founded in 1888 and has become a European icon for its success on the field and notoriously heated matches against bitter rival Rangers.
Celtic is first in the Scottish Premier League, 17 points ahead of second-place Rangers and includes stars Neil Lennon, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, and Thomas Gravesen.