Chelsea to face Mexican team on West Coast
Updated: 2007-05-25 08:40
Chelsea will play Mexican giants Club America in the first game of their preseason tour to the West Coast of the United States, the club announced Thursday.
The FA Cup winners will use the game, to be played on Saturday, July 14, at Stanford University's new 50,000-seat stadium in northern California, as a warm-up for the World Series of Football tournament in Los Angeles the following week when they will play Korean side Suwon Bluewings and David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy.
The tour will be the fourth consecutive preseason visit to the U.S. Jose Mourinho's squad will again train at UCLA before heading to the Bay Area to take on Club America for the inaugural Disney Friendship Cup.
In a statement, Mourinho promised more new faces in his squad for the U.S. tour.
"Club America is playing at a very high level right now and the match will be a true test for our team as we begin preparation for the new season," Mourinho said. "The match will be a good chance for the fans to see our current squad along with new additions to our team as they make their Chelsea debut."
Chelsea business affairs director Paul Smith, who was in California to announce the Disney-sponsored match, outlined the commercial thinking behind the choice of venue and opponent.
"It's part of our development of corporate alliances in the U.S.," Smith said. "The real objective is to have the right number of games for Jose and the team while we're in the States. We already had lined up two games in a new tournament.
"We're starting with (Galaxy owners) AEG in LA in July and Jose wanted to have a third game. So we developed this project into that as a warm-up game for the tournament and we selected to play Club America because of the demographic make-up of this part of California."
Smith added that Chelsea is committed to visiting the USA in alternate years following this summer's tour and said the club would take the World Series tournament format to New York in 2009, involving the New York Red Bulls, and then to Chicago in 2011 alongside the local MLS side Chicago Fire.