SEATTLE, WA— (club release) Seattle Sounders FC today announced that it is hosting Barclays Premier League side West Ham United in an international friendly on Tuesday, July 5 at 7:30 p.m. PT on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field. This friendly against the historic Premiership club and three-time FA Cup champion marks the fifth occasion that Seattle has hosted an English side in international competition, and its tenth overall international friendly since joining MLS in 2009.
Following its final home match at the Boleyn Ground at Upton Park on Tuesday, May 10 against Manchester United, West Ham is set to leave its 112-year-old East London home for the Olympic Stadium in Stratford beginning next season. West Ham has achieved its highest-ever point total in the Premier League era (62 points) during this current campaign, with Slaven Bilic’s side earning a result in 11 of its last 12 matches and on the verge of European qualification. The July 5 friendly is set to be carried regionally throughout Western Washington on JOEtv, KIRO Radio 97.3 FM and El Rey 1360 AM.
“We are eager to welcome West Ham United to Seattle this summer,” said Sounders FC Owner Adrian Hanauer. “Our club has a history of playing host to exciting international clubs, and with West Ham currently enjoying one of its best seasons in recent memory, we think this is a matchup both sets of fans can enjoy.”
The international friendly is included as part of the Sounders FC 2016 Season Ticket Member package and Sea of Green half-season package. Season Ticket Members will receive a 24-hour presale opportunity to purchase additional tickets for the match on Wednesday, May 11. Additionally, single-match tickets are available for purchase on Thursday, May 12 at 9:00 a.m. PT through SoundersFC.com, all Ticketmaster outlets, the CenturyLink Field box office or by calling 877-MLS-GOAL. To reserve the best seats and to receive complete ticketing information for the 2016 season, visit SoundersFC.com/Tickets.
“It’s very exciting to bring a storied club like West Ham United to CenturyLink Field this summer,” said Sounders FC Chief Operating Officer Bart Wiley. “It’s always beneficial to expose our players and staff to elite clubs from top leagues around the world, and we’re looking forward to working with our counterparts at West Ham to put on a great event for our passionate fans here in Seattle.”
Founded in 1895, West Ham United is one of eight clubs to never have fallen below the second division of English football, spending 58 of 90 league seasons in the country’s topflight. The Irons have accumulated three FA Cup championships, as well as two runner-up finishes. The London-based side has also qualified for two European finals, winning the European Cup Winners Cup in 1965 and finishing as runner-up in the competition in 1976.
Under the leadership of first-year Manager Slaven Bilic, the current West Ham squad occupies sixth place in the 2015-2016 Barclays Premier League table with 62 points (16-7-14), one point behind fifth-place Manchester United and within striking distance of securing a Europa League position for next season. Bilic was hired in June of 2015 after previously coaching in Croatia, Russia and Turkey following a prolific playing career that included a stint at West Ham from 1996-1997. His side is led by PFA Player of the Year finalist and French international Dimitri Payet, England internationals Mark Noble and Andy Carroll, in addition to Senegalese central midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate.
“Next season is going to be a hugely exciting and important one for West Ham, as we begin a new era in our magnificent new stadium, and there will be no better way to prepare than with a successful tour of the United States, and games against strong American opposition,” said West Ham United Manager Slaven Bilic. “The Seattle Sounders are renowned throughout America for the passion and loyalty of their fans, so we already have a lot in common, as well as our shared history of former players. We look forward to visiting the Emerald City, and strengthening our ties with the United States still further.”
Sounders FC and West Ham United share connected history, with several players having represented both clubs at various points in their career. Current Seattle fullback Tyrone Mears made six appearances for the Irons during the 2006-2007 Barclays Premier League campaign. Harry Redknapp appeared more than 150 times for West Ham during his playing career before going on to manage the club from 1994 through 2001, with the London native also plying his trade for the North American Soccer League Sounders from 1977 through 1979. Geoff Hurst, a legendary West Ham player who famously scored a hat-trick in England’s 1966 FIFA World Cup Final victory over West Germany, made 23 appearances for the Sounders during the 1976 NASL season alongside former West Ham defender Bobby Moore. Along with Hurst, Moore is one of West Ham’s most beloved players, having captained West Ham for more than a decade in an East London playing career that lasted 15 years and included more than 500 appearances for the Irons. Moore represented the Sounders seven times during the 1978 NASL campaign.
“West Ham is finishing-up one of the strongest campaigns in its storied history,” said Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey. “We look forward to taking on a team that could very well be competing in European football next season, and should present a unique challenge for our squad as we prepare for the second half of our MLS season.”
Sounders FC has hosted nine international friendlies over the past seven seasons for a record of 2-5-2, most recently securing a 2-2 draw with Mexican side Club Tijuana last season. This marks the fifth occasion that Seattle has faced a Barclays Premier League side, with Sounders FC winless in its four meetings against English opposition (0-3-1). The Rave Green most recently drew 3-3 with Tottenham Hotspur on July 19, 2014.
A first-half goal from Clint Dempsey and a late strike from Jordan Morris lifted Seattle Sounders FC (4-4-1, 13 points) to a 2-0 home win over the San Jose Earthquakes last Saturday night on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field. With a team-leading four tallies in as many matches, Morris tied the MLS rookie record with four-straight games with a goal, while he and Dempsey are now tied atop the club’s scoring chart with four goals across all competitions in 2016. The result marked the second-straight shutout for the Rave Green, who concluded their two-match homestand with six points and have lost just once in the past six matches.
ABOUT SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Winner of the 2014 MLS Supporters’ Shield and four Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championships (2009, 2010, 2011, 2014), Sounders FC is Seattle’s Major League Soccer franchise. With an ownership group led by Seattle-based entrepreneur Adrian Hanauer, Hollywood executive Joe Roth, Seattle Seahawks Chairman Paul G. Allen and entertainer Drew Carey, the club received an MLS charter on November 13, 2007 and has reached the MLS Cup Playoffs in every year of its existence. Since the club’s debut MLS season in 2009, Sounders FC has set the standard for soccer support in North America by leading the league in attendance each year, culminating in the top six single-season attendance totals in league history and an active streak of 132 consecutive sellouts. Prior to joining MLS, the Seattle Sounders organization has been a part of the greater Seattle community and U.S. Soccer professional scene since 1974.
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