CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Robert Gray and his sons Alex and Dan visited the box office at Bank of America Stadium Thursday Afternoon. Thanks to the World Cup they are new futbol fans.
"Alex has been watching the World Cup, so he's got a little bit of the fever going on; Dan, we'll see if he catches it," said Gray.
The Grays will join thousands of soccer fans that are expected to descend on uptown when Liverpool takes on Milan Saturday.
"I think we're expecting a really great turnout as far as fans here at the EpiCentre; we have events going on this week and we're prepared for people to show up in thousands this weekend," said Tyler Wogenstahl of Rooftop at the EpiCentre.
His bar is one of the venues where some of the fan events will be hosted. Thousands of fans mean that police need to be on their toes this weekend.
City leaders have declared the match and the festivities to be an extraordinary event. That gives officers additional powers.
"It just allows us a little more leverage in which to stop and ask people about the things they may be carrying that may be suspicious in nature," said Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Major Jeff Estes.
Things like backpacks or large coolers may get extra attention from officers, and they advise that you leave those items at home.
"Most of the time people are ready and willing to show whatever; they want to be safe as much as we want to keep them safe," said Estes.
Most large events like Speed Street or the Fourth of July are labeled extraordinary. Police say the international flavor associated with soccer is an added reason to do so this time.
"We've seen the results when things go bad; we believe in the balance of things. This is minimally invasive and for us it's prudent to do so."
Estes says they don't have any intelligence to suggest there will be a problem this weekend, but they don't want to take any chances.