Captain Francisco Ugarte and the Roughnecks will play the Colorado Rapids of MLS on September 1. (Rich Crimi)
The Tulsa Roughnecks FC has announced that it will play a special exhibition match on Saturday, September 1. The Roughnecks will play the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer at AutoZone Park in Memphis
The match will mark the first professional, outdoor soccer game to be played in Memphis since 1980. The match is being used to kick off the new Memphis USL franchise that will begin play in 2019.
Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard is a Memphis resident and has been an advisor for the USL Memphis team since its unveiling in January. Howard is one of the most decorated soccer players in American history. The legendary goalkeeper has represented the United States Men’s National Team every year since 2002 and, during that time, has amassed 115 caps.
He has also represented the U.S. in the World Cups of 2006 and 2010. Howard joined the Colorado Rapids in 2016 after playing in the English Premier League with Manchester United and Everton.
The activities in Memphis on September 1 will include a festive match-day experience as AutoZone Park will transform into a soccer pitch for the first time in its existence. The stadium is home to baseball's Memphis Redbirds.
Tulsa and Memphis have a soccer history, playing against each other in the old North American Soccer League when Memphis was home to the franchise known as the Memphis Rogues.
“We look forward to playing the match that will unveil the new Memphis franchise,” said Brian Carroll of the Roughnecks. “We are excited to have Memphis come into the USL as it provides another regional rival for our club, and the two cities have a soccer history. In addition, it is always exciting to give our players the opportunity to go against a Major League Soccer team."
Kickoff for the match in Memphis is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. CDT. Single-game tickets for the exhibition will be go on sale to the general public at a later date.