Wrexham to play friendlies vs. Man United, Chelsea in U.S. this summer

Wrexham to play friendlies vs. Man United, Chelsea in U.S. this summer

Updated Feb. 25, 2023 3:53 p.m. ET

Wrexham AFC, the historic Welsh soccer club owned by actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, has reportedly lined up friendly matches in the U.S. against Premier League powerhouses Manchester United and Chelsea this coming summer.

Wrexham's match against Manchester United will take place in San Diego in July, according to ESPN. The Wrexham-Chelsea match is set to take place July 19 in Chapel Hill, N.C., per multiple reports from British media.

The first fixture will be part of United's already-announced Summer 2023 preseason tour of the U.S., a first for the club since 2018 and first under current manager Erik ten Hag. The storied English team is experiencing a resurgent year in its first season under ten Hag and is coming off a dramatic comeback win over FC Barcelona in the first round of the Europa League knockout stage. United also remains third in the Premier League table behind Arsenal and crosstown rivals Manchester City.

[English Premier League title odds; Man City, not Arsenal, the favorite]


Chelsea's involvement, however, comes as a bit more of a surprise as The Blues are in the midst of a down season, with both current manager Graham Potter and former manager Thomas Tuchel having blamed the club's Summer 2022 U.S. tour and its impact on their preseason training as a factor in the team's struggles.

Potter has come under immense criticism in recent weeks as Chelsea has continued to struggle despite record spending from American chairman Todd Boehly in the January transfer window to bring in several big-name players such as Joao Felix and World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez.

[Chelsea manager Graham Potter says he has received death threats]

Wrexham has gained popularity in the U.S. due to a hit documentary featuring the club and its famous owners as well as a recent unlikely run to the fourth round of the English FA Cup, the deepest run made in the tournament this season by a fifth-tier club, before losing to second-tier Sheffield United.

Is Ryan Reynolds' involvement with Wrexham GOOD for the sport of soccer?

Wrexham is also scheduled to participate in a seven-on-seven, winner-take-all soccer tournament in North Carolina in early June as part of its efforts to drum up more support stateside. The celebrity-filled tournament will feature Reynolds and McElhenney as part of the active playing roster as well as a team full of former USWNT stars and teams led by former USMNT players and FOX Soccer World Cup analysts Clint Dempsey, Jimmy Conrad and DeMarcus Beasley.

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