Paris Saint-Germain fans don’t have to travel to France to get up close to their favorite soccer stars.
The popular French team is training at Barry University and doing many public appearances over nine days as part of the International Champions Cup, which includes the highly anticipated El Clasico Miami matchup between Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona on July 29 at Hard Rock Stadium.
Three days earlier, on the same field, PSG faces Champions League finalist Juventus of Italy.
In the leadup to the match, the Parisian team — whose roster includes Brazilians Thiago Silva and Dani Alves, and Argentine Angel Di Maria — is spreading its brand and love for its fans all over town.
The club opened a pop-up store/gathering spot called “PSG Residence” at Wynwell gym (20 NE 27th St.), which sells everything from limited edition PSG Miami shirts and shoes to skate decks and BMX bikes. It is open daily from 1 to 8 p.m., with an 8 p.m. launch party Thursday.
The fun began on Monday when Di Maria threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Marlins game against the Phillies. Though he played some baseball as a kid in Rosario, Argentina, Di Maria hadn’t thrown a ball in nearly two decades, so he took a quick lesson from the Barry University baseball coaching staff following PSG’s workout.
Di Maria, a southpaw, delighted the Marlins crowd when he juggled a baseball repeatedly with his feet and then got the first pitch across the plate.
“It was so much fun, truly an unforgettable experience,” Di Maria said Wednesday. “I wasn’t sure how heavy the ball would be, but it was easier to pitch than I anticipated.”
He said the team has enjoyed interacting with South Florida fans and other fans who flew in for the event. Some players will visit Miami Children’s Hospital on Thursday.
“There are fans at our training sessions, waiting outside when we leave the hotel, and for us to stop five minutes to take a photo or sign an autograph is a very important part of our job,” Di Maria said. “We have fans all over the world, and this is their chance to see us.”
Fans of the French club gathered on Wednesday night at Monty’s Coconut Grove to watch PSG in its ICC opener against AS Roma in Detroit.
On Thursday, there is a meet-and-greet with PSG players at Nike Town on Lincoln Road from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m., and on Friday night fans are invited to an open training session from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Barry University soccer fields (115 NE 2nd Ave.). Nobody is admitted after 6 p.m. The other open practice is Monday from 10 a.m. to noon.
Weekend events include a watch party of PSG vs. Tottenham at the PSG Residence from 8 to 10 p.m. Saturday and a player meet-and-greet on Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. For information on all local PSG events, follow @PSG_English on Twitter.