March 20, 2007 | New Orleans

The first professional sports event to be held on the new playing surface of Tad Gormley Stadium in City Park since it was renamed Reggie Bush Field takes place this Sunday.

Legendary Central American soccer giants Olimpia will tackle the USA's New England Revolution in a glamour exhibition game at 5pm. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the gate.

The glittering international challenge match has been organized by the New Orleans Shell Shockers and Head Coach Kenny Farrell said: 'We are humbled to be involved in this great honor and are delighted to be part of this historic occasion.

'Last season Reggie Bush brought sparkle to the lives of all sports fans in New Orleans, and the rebirth of the field which bears his name is an apt metaphor for the rejuvenation of the city as a whole.
In June the New Orleans Saints running back and his sponsor Adidas donated a total of $86,000 to relay the field and help maintain it. The stadium was battered by Katrina, the electrical system suffered $1,000,000- worth of damage and the turf was under five feet of water for a month.

Although high-school football games have been held in the 70-year-old venue since the hurricane, this will be the first professional sports event in the famous old venue which has seen concerts by The Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

Sunday's game is an extremely rare chance for the area's soccer lovers to see top-class international superstars in the flesh. The Revolution reached the Major League Soccer Cup Final last year and have a galaxy of international talent such as USA World Cup forward Taylor Twellman on their squad.

Honduran team Olimpia meanwhile are the best known side in the soccer-crazy country which once went to war with neighbor El Salvador over a disputed World Cup qualifier. In their illustrious 95-year history they have won the league title an unparalleled 20 times and been runners-up on 13 occasions. They have also been crowned the continent's top club three times, lifting the CONCACAF Champions Cup in three different decades.

The match is part of the Miller International Soccer Series which runs until August and features a range of Hispanic professional clubs competing in New Orleans.

On Wednesday March 28 the New Orleans Shell Shockers begin their preseason campaign with a friendly against the New England Revolution in LSU Stadium in Baton Rouge.