Storied Clubs Come To Qwest
Posted by: Matt Gaschk
The Sounders FC announced Wednesday that long-historied franchises Boca Juniors and Celtic FC will visit Qwest Field in summer friendlies.
For the second straight season, the Sounders FC will have the chance to test themselves against some of the most storied clubs in the world.
Last year, UEFA Champions League semifinalist Chelsea came to Seattle to face the Sounders in July, then UEFA’s champion FC Barcelona visited in August. This time around it’s legendary Argentinean club Boca Juniors and Scottish giants FC Celtic.
“These are two very storied franchises that will bring a lot of fun to Qwest Field in May and July. It will be a great challenge again,” Sounders FC owner/GM Adrian Hanauer said. “It’s an opportunity for us to test ourselves against some of the best teams internationally and we are looking forward to it.”
One of the best-known teams in South America, Boca Juniors is based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They have won 23 national championships and a total of 41 official tournaments since their inception in 1905. They will play at Qwest Field on Friendly Ticket A on May 26.
Then July 18, the Sounders FC will host Celtic FC in Friendly B. Winners of 34 Scottish Cups and 42 League Championships, Celtic comes with a winning pedigree over the course of their 122-year history.
“Celtic and Boca may not be the recognizable brands of Barcelona, Real Madrid or Manchester United, but they are still huge brands worldwide. We’re very happy to have those teams coming in,” Hanauer said. “We wanted teams that were going to bring their best players, so in some of the conversations with some of the bigger teams around the world it was clear that half the team might be missing for the World Cup. That didn’t sit well with us, relative to delivering to our fans. We wanted to find some teams that were likely to not be missing significant portions of their rosters.”
To the players and coaches, the game provides an opportunity to play on a slightly grander stage than the typical league match against clubs with worldwide clout.
“It’s an event. It’s something for our fans to enjoy and a chance to bring something unique and special to our fans,” head coach Sigi Schmid said.
“It’s great for our fans to see major teams from other countries and it’s important for us to gauge where we’re at. It’s going to be preseason for them, but they’re still very high level teams. It’ll be a good experience for us, just like last year,” Tyson Wahl said.
Patrick Ianni added, “It’s just nice that our ownership puts this stuff together for us. It’s a good opportunity to show what we can do against them and it’s a good opportunity for our fans.”
Both teams also agreed to play on the FieldTurf at Qwest Field. The friendlies in 2009, meanwhile, were played on imported grass surfaces.
Tickets go on sale for the match with Boca Juniors on Monday, May 3 and Celtic on Tuesday, June 1.