Former Northwestern Soccer Players to Play with Messi and His Friends

Lionel Messi is making some new Wildcat friends this weekend - David Ramos

Five former Northwestern soccer players to compete in Argentinian soccer star Lionel Messi's charity game "Messi and Friends" tonight at 7 PM (ET) at Soldier Field live on ESPN.

You've heard of Lionel Messi. Maybe only because you dominate with Barcelona in FIFA '13 on Xbox Live or because you've seen him in this ridiculous Herbalife basketball commercial where he kicks in the game-winning basket or his random Turkish Airlines commercial with Kobe Bryant. Either way, Messi is currently the LeBron James of soccer, the undisputed best player in the world, and he will be sharing the pitch Northwestern's own Gerardo Alvarez, Mark Blades, Dave Roth, Matt Eliason and Tommy Tombridge along with Head Coach Tim Lenahan serving as an assistant to one of the sides in the charity match that will feature Messi, Thierry Henry and Carlos Bocanegra among others.

How did Northwestern players end up on the same field with some of the world's best? Well, a lot of these high-profile stars dropped out allowing Lenahan's connection with a former player of his come in handy. Lenahan coached Santiago Solari at Richard Stockton College, who went on to play with Real Madrid, and is apart of Messi's charity tour which somehow lead to the Wildcats joining the event when Messi became short on friends. Why they didn't get some local professional players to fill in, I'm not sure, but this should be a great recruiting platform for Lenahan and the Back-to-Back Big Ten champions.

Tombridge was a late add in to the event as a goalkeeper. Information about the other four players participating can be seen in the Northwestern press release and information on the game can be found here.

Northwestern: Messi's Big Ten Team. Go 'Cats!

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