Daytona International Speedway may be known worldwide as the iconic 101,000-capacity home of the Daytona 500 NASCAR race.
However, the Florida venue is gearing up to host an innovative event that will bring together soccer and entertainment to engage a different type of audience over the Independence Day weekend.
Daytona Soccer Fest will feature a world-class line-up of stars from ‘the beautiful game’ for a Colombian classic, a Legends clash and a National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) regular-season contest between Orlando Pride and Racing Louisville.
Soccer will be mixed with live music, fair rides, teqball, food, freestyle soccer, a fishing tournament on Lake Lloyd and various other activations, as well as a fireworks display to mark the July 4 celebrations.
International legends of the game including Argentina’s Javier Mascherano, Uruguay’s Diego Forlán and French World Cup winner and Juventus hero David Trezeguet will also take to the pitch in a battle between the Americas and Europe.
“Fans want new innovative experiences,” Santiago Debonis, Daytona Soccer Fest Project Director at Torneos US, tells Fan XP. “Daytona Soccer Fest has never been seen before. It is not just a match or a concert.”
Debonis says that the choice to focus on soccer, and men’s and women’s soccer as a hook for the event, is because it is one of the fastest growing sports in the US.
On the horizon, of course, is the men’s 2026 FIFA World Cup, which is being primarily staged in the US, along with neighbours Canada and Mexico. However, the success of the US national women’s team has ensured that soccer has grown considerably as a sport of choice for girls and women in the country, as well as boys and men.
“Women’s soccer is capturing the attention of the sporting world,” he says. “More players have been participating in the game in the last few years than ever before, and viewing numbers have reached an all-time high. The NWSL is a premier league and we have great expectations.”
Concerts and challenges
On the Saturday of the event, attendees will be able to witness the World Freestyle Football Association (WFFA) qualifiers, for its first ever US Open.
This will be followed by The Original Challenge, which is sponsored by Spain’s LaLiga. The Challenge will bring together youth players with intellectual disabilities from Spanish and US clubs as part of LaLiga’s social responsibility programme.
Argentinian band Los Totora will then perform a highly anticipated concert before the Colombian Classic takes centre stage. The opening day will be rounded off by performances by music superstars Adassa and Rauw Alejandro.
Day two will kick off with the WFFA Finals before a concert from 2Love will whet the appetite for the All Star Legends Game, where heroes from the Americas and Europe will battle it out on the pitch. A concert from Lu$t will rev up the crowd for a major performance by international artist Chance the Rapper.
The NWSL regular-season game between Orlando Pride and Racing Louisville FC will wrap up the sporting action before the fireworks display brings the curtain down on what organisers are hoping will be a weekend to remember.
“We will offer world-class entertainment and a wide range of activities to share with the family to enjoy an incredible Independence weekend celebration,” Debonis says.