Only a month ago, Houston played host to a sold-out international match -- Mexico vs. the U.S. -- that proved that this city has lots of soccer fans, and that if the stars and moon align properly, they'll come out. That day, you could feel the heat radiating from the stadium all the way to Dallas. This weekend, local soccer stalwarts are hoping for that same energy to take over Robertson Stadium, when Nigeria faces off against Ecuador. The Nigerian team will bring a host of World Cup stars to Houston, including Jay-Jay Okocha and others from England's Premier League. There might not be as many soccer-hungry Nigerians and Ecuadorans in town as there are Mexicans, but believe me, this one's gonna get rowdy. Later in the week, there will be a doubleheader at Reliant Stadium. One of the top U.S. teams, the Kansas City Wizards, will play Santos from Mexico, and El Salvador will take on Guatemala.
If Houstonians show up to these two events, then maybe by next year we'll have our own Major League Soccer team. Housed in the Astrodome. Call me a dreamer. Nigeria vs. Ecuador: 8 p.m. Saturday, July 5, Robertson Stadium, University of Houston, 3100 Cullen Boulevard. For tickets, call 1-800-506-4429 or visit www.omega-sports.com. $10-$40. Doubleheader: 7 p.m. Kansas City vs. Mexico, and 9:15 p.m. Guatemala vs. El Salvador, Tuesday, July 8, Reliant Stadium, One Reliant Park. For tickets, call 713-629-3700 or visit www.ticketmaster.com. $25 to $40. -- Matt Sonzala
Whatever Floats Your Boat
The 2003 Houston Summer Boat Show should satisfy both serious boat-lovers and the just-plain-curious. The curious will want to pay a visit to Twiggy the Skiing Squirrel, the world-famous rodent river runner who's drawn crowds since 1978. (Actually, it's Twiggy No. 5.) Another attraction: the Fish-O-Rama contest, where folks can try their hand at catching fish from a tank for prizes. Real boaters will be entranced by the show's array of seagoing vessels, including bass boats, runabout boats, ski boats, cigarette boats and pontoon boats. 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 9, through Friday, July 11; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, July 12; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, July 13. Reliant Center, 8400 Kirby Drive. For information, call 713-552-1055 or visit www.houstonboatshows.com. $7; $3 for children under 12. -- Eric Norvell