Chelsea in Seattle to make new soccer friends

Jul 16, 2012, 8:22 PM | Updated: 11:37 pm
Chelsea has been training at the Seahawks’ headquarters in Renton in preparation for Wednesda...
Chelsea has been training at the Seahawks' headquarters in Renton in preparation for Wednesday's match against the Sounders. (Photo from ChelseaFC.com)
(Photo from ChelseaFC.com)

One of England’s most famous football teams has taken over the Virginia Mason Athletic Center (VMAC), the Seahawks’ headquarters. Chelsea FC will spend the next couple days training for their Wednesday night “friendly” against Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field.

It’s the fifth time the London-based club has come to Seattle, which they first did in 1967 when the “Blues” defeated a group of local amateurs 5-0. Chelsea’s last appearance was in 2009 when they recorded a 2-nil victory over the Sounders.

Chelsea’s roster for the United States tour includes many top players like Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and goalkeeper Petr Cech. That doesn’t mean all of them will play in the exhibition game, especially just coming off a thrilling run to the UEFA Champions League title.

Others, like Fernando Torres, helped Spain win Euro 2012 and are expected to join the tour later on.

Former Chelsea great Graeme Le Saux accompanied the squad as a goodwill soccer ambassador and told us about their mission in the United States.

“The more fans we can get to come watch the team play, whether it’s on television or in person at the stadium, that’s the first point of entry quite often into sport,” Le Saux explained. “Once that door is open, we hope there’s enough support in those places in America to give children and young people an opportunity to play something they’re interested in.”

To that end, Le Saux and a couple Chelsea players are conducting a youth and community coaching clinic at the VMAC Tuesday afternoon. They have also opened Tuesday evening’s 6:30 training session to fans at CenturyLink Field.

There’s a strong chance Seattle fans will get to see recently-signed youngsters Eden Hazard from Belgium and 23-year-old German winger Marko Marin. Some reports have Chelsea offering 20-year-old Oscar of Brazil a record contract. He has been courted by both Tottenham and Inter Milan.

Chelsea has its own television network, with a crew following the players every moves during this tour.

Seattle Sounders FC has its own radio station, 97.3 KIRO FM. The Ron and Don show broadcasts live from Pioneer Square Wednesday afternoon, leading up to a 6:30 kick against Chelsea FC.

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Chelsea in Seattle to make new soccer friends