Seattle facing blue British invasion

Jul 18, 2012, 5:55 AM | Updated: 11:31 am
British powerhouse Chelsea will play to packed houses in Seattle and across America during its summer tour that starts Wednesday night at Century Link Field. (AP photo)
(AP photo)

Why is Seattle so infatuated with England’s soccer teams?
Wednesday night a crowd in excess of 50,000 will pack CenturyLink
Field to watch an exhibition match between the hometown
Sounders and European power Chelsea FC.

There will be hundreds of fans milling around
Pioneer Square wearing dark blue Chelsea jerseys. Last
summer, there were thousands more sporting the bright red
Manchester United shirts and scarves.

Maybe it’s our proximity to British Columbia that has us
embracing English football, pubs, the royals, and

I asked former Seattle Sounders star Roger Davies for his
thoughts on the strong Pacific Northwest connection with
his native England.

“Firstly, the weather,” Davies chuckled. “It’s very much
like home in England. It’s cool and damp, even in the
summer. When I came here with other players from my
country we felt right at home.”

Davies has returned to Seattle to receive the Sounders
golden scarf award before the Chelsea match. Huge crowds
cheered on Davies and his mates in the early 80’s when
they played highly entertaining soccer in the Kingdome.

Those Sounders teams, coached by former Derby County star
Alan Hinton, are primarily responsible for generating
enormous youth and adult league participation in the Puget
Sound region.

Television and the internet have allowed young American
soccer fans to embrace current English Premier League
soccer teams and stars like Frank Lampard, John Terry,
and Wayne Rooney.

New Seattle midfielder Andy Rose played for Bristol City,
England. He believes fans in Washington State just
appreciate the elite athletes on the planet.

“EPL have some unbelievable players, not just from
England, but all over the world,” Rose said. “You
look at Fernando Torres and Juan Mata, who just won the
European championships for Spain. Soccer is a religion
over there, and obviously there is no better test than
playing the best.”

Many in tonight’s CenturyLink audience will be there for
their very first soccer game. It’s a social happening, a
party. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?

97.3 KIRO FM’s Ron and Don Show will broadcast live from 3 to 6 p.m. at FX McRory’s in Pioneer Square. Listen for first kick at 6:30 p.m. on 97.3 KIRO FM.

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Seattle facing blue British invasion