Major League Soccer
US Soccer

Chris Penso, Eric Boria and Mark Cahen: ISL participation an honor

Oct 30, 2014

By PRO officials Chris Penso, Eric Boria and Mark Cahen

Namaste from India! Another week has passed and we have some amazing stories to share with you. 

We traveled to Goa on Tuesday and, after checking in to our hotel, our assessor Suresh took us into town where we were able to experience some Diwali festivities in person. 

On Thursday we took charge of our fourth and final match between FC Goa and Atletico de Kolkata. This game was being billed as somewhat of a rivalry as these are two states within India that are well known for their love of football and strong competitive desire to win. 

The match lived up to the hype as it was a highly contentious affair that required a great deal of player management on our part. FC Goa held a 1-0 lead for the majority of the match but Atletico de Kolkata kept their winning streak alive with two late goals, pulling out a 2-1 victory and setting the stage for a long and exciting rivalry.
From there we traveled to Pune where we were able to take in a game from the stands. This was Pune’s home opener and the fans were anxious to catch their first glimpse of the Hero ISL in person. Pune beat Goa 2-0 and sent their fans home happy. 

It was great to experience a match from the stands and see the passion that the fans possess. In a country where cricket is in control, the love for soccer is astounding. 
We then returned to Mumbai for the last couple days of our time here. On a whim, we booked tickets to Delhi and arranged a car for the four-hour drive to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal. 

On Tuesday morning we left the hotel at 4am, caught the first flight to Delhi, drove four hours to Agra, and were left speechless by one of the world’s most breathtaking sights. After touring the grounds for a couple hours and playing our role as American tourists, we went back to Delhi for our return flight to Mumbai - certainly a long day, but worth every minute of the travel.  
On the eve of our departure back to US soil, the time has come to say goodbye. Our time in India has been amazing and the hospitality top-class. 

The Hero ISL is off to a great start with exciting games, great attendance, and passionate fans - the opening match alone recorded 74.9 million viewers. 

This was an amazing experience full of unforgettable memories and stories that will last a lifetime, and we are not only thrilled but honored to play such a special role in the game we love – a game with the beautiful ability to transcend borders.  
For the Love of the Game.
Chris, Eric and Mark.

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