Thursday, January 24, 2008

First Professional Football (Soccer) Game!

Thanks to my co-workers here that I was able to attend my first professional football (soccer) game ever. It was PSV (Phillips) Eindhoven vs Spartan Rotterdam. We had the dinner at a Chinese restaurant close to the Philips stadium where the game was held. The dinner was great with 3 dishes and the ice cream as the dessert. We did have to rush a little during the dinner because we started to see all the people moving toward the stadium outside the window. Good thing was that it was a clear night but windy and around 35'F (3'C).

The stadium was decent size and could accommodate about 35,000 people. There was even a special train station directly connected to the stadium for the football fans who took the train to get to the stadium. Of course, the station was closed usually unless there was a game. When we got out of the restaurant, there was already a traffic jam on the road to the stadium. The entrance was controlled by an electronic rotation gate. Once you scanned your ticket card in the front of the sensor, you could push the rotation gate and got in. We waited in line for about 5 minutes and all got in.

We had a pretty good seats way up on one side of the stadium. As a matter of the fact, our seats were right on the top of the top floor entrance to the stadium. The seats were very small (even smaller than the airplane coach class seat) and slopes that with rows of seats were very steep. I would say it was at least 70 degree angle. One of my co-worker was afraid of height and he had to grab the back of my seat through the whole game to stop feeling that he was going to fall forward off to the bottom rows of the seats . That was how steep the seats were located. The space between rows were like the crowded airplane but your feet were easily above the head of any 6 feet tall guy sitting in the row in the front of you. Good thing that nobody sat behind us so we did not have to worry that people would kick or step on our heads during the game.

The fans were very into the game, especially, for those who were in stand seats. I have never seen anyplace in US selling standing seats for any main professional sports. Anyway, they sang and cheered through the whole game. Lots of people were throwing paper trash in the air. Kind of strange. The game was a little boring since the visiting team (Spartan from Rotterdam) was no competition to the local team (PSV) at all so it was slow most of the game. Both teams actually scored one point in the last 5 minute when half of the fans in the stadium had started to leave. Local team won 3-1 at the end. It was chilly when wind blew during the game since it was an open stadium. Fortunately, there were a big rows of heaters on the extended roof that covered the audience seats (see those red things in the picture). Overall, it was a great experience and I would not mind doing it again.

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