Over the past five years, Sounders FC has welcomed some prominent names in world soccer during friendly matches at CenturyLink Field. That list has included the likes of Lionel Messi, Thierry Henry, Michael Ballack, Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs and Eden Hazard, just to name a few.
On Saturday, Sounders FC will welcome Tottenham Hotspur in the first friendly at CenturyLink Field since 2012, when Chelsea visited as part of its preseason preparations for the 2012-2013 season.
“I think it’s good for soccer in the U.S. I think it’s good for the fans to see these teams that maybe they support - or maybe they hate - playing against their team,” said Sounders FC’s Lamar Neagle, who got his first playing time in 2009 friendlies against Chelsea and Barcelona. “We’re all competitive too. We want to be able to use a match like this as a measuring stick.”
Tottenham Hotspur certainly sets that bar high. As the sixth-place finisher in the Premier League in the 2013-2014 season, they bring a bevy of experience and talent to America for their North American tour. Seattle is the first of three stops, as Spurs will face Toronto FC on July 23 and the Chicago Fire on July 26.
The London-based club joins other Premier League sides Chelsea and Manchester United, as well as Spanish giants Barcelona as visitors to CenturyLink Field. After a one-year hiatus from the friendly circuit, Seattle is back in the mix with Tottenham Hotspur—a great opportunity for fans and players alike.
“I think it’s always great if you’re a fan of the sport to be able to see some players close up,” said Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid. “It’s great to see those stars on your field up close and personal. It’s a tremendous opportunity. The guys they’re watching on TV, they get to see firsthand and you don’t get to do that in a lot of places.”
The game comes at a good time for Seattle, too.
With no MLS or Open Cup match this weekend and still fresh off of the World Cup break, the match gives Sounders FC the opportunity to stay in rhythm for the next league match on July 28 against the LA Galaxy.
“It’s going to be a good game for us and we have to give everything we have to win the game. I don’t take it like a friendly. It’s going to be a battle,” said midfielder Osvaldo Alonso, who has also faced European opponents in the MLS All-Star Game. “It’s always great to play at a high level. For us, it’s going to be a great opportunity to play against a good team. We have to play our game and do our best we can do to win the game.”
Tottenham Hotspur will begin training in Seattle on Wednesday and will have several interactive fan events before Saturday’s 1 pm PT friendly at CenturyLink Field. Tickets to the match are available at SoundersFC.com or by calling 1-877-MLS-KICK.
Special Olympics Event at 5 pm
Championship Field at Seattle University
THFC coaches will deliver a coaching clinic in collaboration with Special Olympics.
Pike Place Market Community Event at 2:45 pm
Pike Place Market
Two THFC and two Sounders FC players will participate in a community event.
Kasey Keller and Ledley King Autograph Signing at 3:30 pm
CenturyLink Field Pro Shop
Former Tottenham teammates Keller and King will sign autographs in the Pro Shop after the open training session.
THFC Open Training from 4:30-5:30 pm
Gates open 30 minutes prior to training.
THFC Supporters Evening at 7 pm
George & Dragon Pub
An evening in the ‘home’ bar of Seattle Spurs, THFC’s Official Supporters Club in Seattle, with Club Legends and Club Reps.