24-hour soccer match in 'city that never sleeps' at Rockefeller Center

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- Hundreds of players signed up to compete in a 24-hour soccer match in the city that never sleeps.

New York City Football Club (NYCFC) hosted the event Friday at Rockefeller Center in an effort to unite the club's connection with the city's soccer fans and promote their 2018 Major League Soccer (MLS) season.

"I think being here today shows how important the fans are to our football club," NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira said.

More than 500 participants signed up to compete in the small-sided game.

"It's an intimate crowd, and it's a smaller field to have more fun," NYCFC player Rodney Wallace said.

Players were divided into two teams: Team Vieira and Team David Villa, named after NYCFC's team captain.

Fans were able to interact with their favorite players as well.

"I actually got a picture with David Villa," participant and NYCFC fan Michael Villanueva said. "Ronald Matarrita (NYCFC player), I was able to see pretty close up, so that was pretty nice."

Growing New York City's soccer community is a goal NYCFC look to score on this season and beyond.

"I love soccer ... I love New York ... I love NYCFC," Villa said. "I think the club did a very good thing in the past, and this is one of the important days for soccer in New York."

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