July 14, 2001

The 2001 Copa Sears Pre-Libertadores continues its sizzling summer action with the matches Morelia vs. Toluca and Cruz Azul vs. America on Wed., Aug. 22 at Chicago's Soldier Field.

After three Copa Sears games, a favored winning team has not yet emerged. Chicago's top two finishing teams will advance to the next round of the Copa Pre-Libertadores, making the city's double-header an important stop for participating Mexican clubs.

The evening's soccer action begins with the game Morelia vs. Toluca at 7:00 p.m. Both teams were victorious against their opponents in Dallas, the tournament's last stop, and the Windy City's winning team will solidify their position at the top.

Immediately after the first match, Cruz Azul will seek to re-instate its standing within the qualifier when it faces America, one of Mexico's most popular teams, at 9:00 p.m. Following its surprising defeat in Dallas, Cruz Azul, the 2000 Copa Sears first place winner and this year's favorite after finishing second in the Copa Libertadores de America, is expected to put up a good fight against America.

Both games promise a great deal of action for Chicago's soccer-hungry fans. "The Dallas games created doubt about which team will be the tournament winner," commented Jorge Ramos, 2001 Copa Sears Pre-Libertadores spokesperson. "This means Chicago is a 'must win' for any team with aspirations of emerging victorious at the Copa Sears."

The Copa Sears Pre Libertadores 2001, now in its fifth year, is a two-phase qualifying series played by Mexican clubs to secure a spot in the Copa Libertadores de America Tournament. For the past three years, Mexican clubs have played the qualifier, Copa Sears Pre-Libertadores, in U.S. stadiums, attracting thousands of fans. The tournament is one of the few official international soccer tournaments that take place in the U.S. Remaining matches for the 2001 Copa Sears Pre-Libertadores will be played in San Jose and Houston between August and September.

During the 2001 Copa Sears, Sears will partner with Soccer in the Streets (SITS), an organization that has established children's soccer leagues in more than 75 culturally-diverse cities in the U.S. Together they will bring back the Equipos del Futuro ("Teams of the Future"), children from local soccer leagues, to each city where the championship is played. The Equipos children will enjoy the Sears Soccer Experience, an interactive game area, prior to the matches and will serve as ballboys/ballgirls during the games. In addition, they will receive goody bags full of futbol equipment and their local leagues will receive a cash donation from Sears.

To showcase the excitement of the Copa Sears Pre-Libertadores Tournament, Sears launched an integrated marketing campaign that includes in-store promotions, giveaways, visits to the stadiums by the Sears Fiesta Mobile, and local sweepstakes.

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