Amidst the hoopla surrounding the International Champions Cup schedule release this morning, some of the European clubs' representatives were vocal in their support for the United States as host of the tournament.
Former Blues goalkeeper and current club ambassador Carlo Cudicini praised the choice of Red Bull Arena as an ICC venue. "I am looking forward to Chelsea playing [at RBA], where I know from experience the home supporters can generate an incredible atmosphere."
He continued, "It will be an interesting match between one of the best teams in the MLS and the English Premier League's best team."
Paris Saint-Germain's representative was also enthusiastic about the growth in his club's American fan base. "The North American market is very important to us both for the development of our club image and our business," said Nasser Al Khelaifi, Chairman and CEO of PSG. "I can tell you that in the past two years we have seen more and more of American fans attending matches at our emblematic Parc des Princes stadium in Paris."
Along with club representatives, others were effusive about holding the tournament in the tri-state area.
"New York is one of the biggest soccer markets in the country," said Charlie Stillitano, chairman of Relevent Sports, the tournament's organizer. "Bringing multiple [ICC] matches here was an easy decision."
New York Red Bulls II manager John Wolyniec also spoke at the press conference, where he praised the RBNY fans as some of the best in the world and said he was jealous he wasn't able to play in the match itself. He added, "But I'm anxious to watch the product on the field."
So are we, John. So are we.