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Here to Play, Here to Stay
Asia Tour 2013

Chelsea’s tour of Asia in the summer of 2013 was the third to take on our Here to Play, Here to Stay identity, symbolising the club’s commitment to leave a lasting legacy everywhere we visit.

There was success on the pitch, as José Mourinho oversaw three wins in his first three games since returning to the club while , off the field, there were numerous community engagement initiatives and many opportunities for fans to engage with the club.

In all three countries we visited – Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia – Chelsea Foundation coaches visited local children and facilities at coaching clinics, delivering fun training sessions aimed at developing ability and teamwork skills.

First-team squad members also leant a hand, with a total of 13 visiting Chelsea Soccer Schools during the tour to take part in training sessions alongside local youngsters. In Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, the Soccer Schools are at Blue Pitches created by Chelsea for previous tours, with another set to open in Jakarta not long after this tour had finished. Club partners Right To Play, Samsung, adidas and Singha were also involved in many of the projects.

In Thailand, there was a unique visit when Mourinho, Chief Executive Ron Gourlay, John Terry and Frank Lampard paid respect to the country’s highly revered king.

The tour was considered a huge success in terms of fan interaction, with Gourlay attending question and answer sessions with both the official Thai and Malaysian supporters’ clubs. There were also areas in local shopping malls and around the stadia we were playing in where fun games and information on the club were available.

On top of that, open training sessions attracted thousands of fans in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur and there were large crowds at all three of our games, with the best saved until last.

Although it was our first visit to Indonesia, thousands of fans were at the airport and lining the streets to greet the players and management on arrival. A crowd of over 80,000 – many decked out in Chelsea shirts – then attended our game against the Indonesia All-Stars and they did not leave disappointed following a resounding 8-1 victory for the Blues.

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USA 2013

As well as our Here to Play, Here to Stay tour of Asia, Chelsea also embarked on two trips to the United States in the summer of 2013, playing high-profile first-team games as well as setting up an exciting new collaboration with FC Harlem.

After the culmination of the 2012/13 Premier League season, the Blues travelled to America for two matches against Manchester City. The Blues were based in St Louis and football fever certainly caught the attention of the locals. More than 10,000 fans turned out for an open training session before nearly 50,000 attended our first match, which ended 4-3 to the Citizens. The second fixture attracted a big crowd at Yankee Stadium in New York and they were treated to another thriller, with the sides sharing eight goals between them.

During this trip, first-team players including Petr Cech, Demba Ba and David Luiz attended a coaching clinic at FC Harlem, who Chelsea Foundation coaches and former Blue Graeme Le Saux had previously worked with during our 2012 Here to Play, Here to Stay tour of America.

The club went on to announce an official partnership with FC Harlem, which saw the formation of the Young L.I.O.N.S (Leaders In Our Neighbourhoods) initiative to develop exciting opportunities for young people, providing positive activities and developing social and leadership skills.

On the week the project was launched, Chelsea’s Under-21s squad joined FC Harlem for several events in their neighbourhood, including a visit to the world-famous Apollo theatre, a meal at Red Rooster to meet celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson and a training session at FC Harlem's home pitch to officially launch the community partnership.

In August, José Mourinho took his first-team squad back across the Atlantic Ocean to participate in the Guinness International Champions Cup as the final part of preparation ahead of the 2013/14 campaign.

The tournament started with a 2-0 win over Inter Milan in Indianapolis, before we overcame Inter’s local rivals AC Milan by the same scoreline in New Jersey to secure a place in the final against Real Madrid. Ramires got on the scoresheet for the Blues but it wasn’t enough to stop us falling to a 3-1 defeat in an entertaining game watched by a crowd of nearly 70,000 in Miami.

There was a quick response in our final warm-up fixture ahead of the new season as goals from Frank Lampard and Romelu Lukaku saw us beat Roma 2-1 in Washington DC.

Following on from our Here to Play, Here to Stay tour of America in 2012, these visits reinforced Chelsea’s commitment to leave a lasting legacy and help the development of the game throughout the United States. 

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Here To Play, Here To Stay
USA Tour 2012

Chelsea’s 2012 Here to Play, Here to Stay tour of the United States continued the club’s long-standing history of visiting the country, stretching back as far as the 1950s, with this our sixth trip to America since 2004.

 

Coming off the back of our first Champions League triumph, this tour was not only about preparing the team for the campaign ahead, but a way of thanking our US-based fans for their support, while leaving a lasting legacy to help develop the sport at a grassroots level. With world-class facilities commonplace in the United States, the emphasis was on youth development.

The tour began in Seattle and here, as well as in the three other cities on the tour, was a Samsung-Chelsea FC Youth Football Camp, where more than 500 children benefitted from expert tuition courtesy of Chelsea Foundation coaches.
Branislav Ivanovic, Josh McEachran, Nathaniel Chalobah and former Blues star Graeme Le Saux visited the Seattle camp, with Ivanovic saying: “It is a great experience for the kids to meet some of our players and for us it is great to see them and find out how soccer is becoming more popular in the USA.”

 

Chelsea Foundation international development manager Ian Woodroffe added: “We have had a fantastic opportunity to interact with a wide range of people and, through football, spread the word about what we are trying to do from a Chelsea perspective.
“The rest of the year, we work in the United States with our Super Clubs, making technical visits and working with them to organise camps, programmes and coaching education.”

Thousands of fans turned out at an open training session at Century Link Field, venue for the match a day later in which the Blues ran out 4-2 winners.

 

Next stop was New York, where the Blues were honoured to play in the first football game ever to be held at the new Yankee Stadium. The match saw us draw 1-1 against Paris Saint-Germain but it was evident that the vast majority of a packed ground were cheering on the Blues.

“Yankee Stadium is no normal football stadium and the atmosphere was amazing,” said Blues midfielder Michael Essien. “Everyone was supporting Chelsea and it felt just like being in London at Stamford Bridge.”

 

A major off-field activity of the tour saw Chelsea Foundation coaches, Le Saux and the club’s global charity partner Right To Play put on sessions for teenagers at FC Harlem. The youth development programme uses the power of football to have a positive impact on kids and communities and the Blues would go on to launch an official partnership with the club a year later.

It was then off to Philadelphia, where fans thronged at a supporters hub, as was the case in all four destinations of the tour. The Blues took on an MLS All-Star side containing David Beckham and narrowly lost 3-2.

 

Our final destination was Miami where first-team players and Le Saux attended a coaching event at the Florida International University sports ground to mark the launch of a new regional partnership with Digicel.

There was another big turn-out at an open training session at Sun Life Stadium, home of NFL side Miami Dolphins, where we finished our tour with a match against AC Milan.

 

With so much development work done off the pitch, Le Saux summed up the success of the tour.

“Here the kids already get offered the chance to play football and the facilities are amazing. So where we help is that, as soon as the children start getting the coaching our Foundation coaches can offer, they switch on and think ‘We have not had this type of coaching before.”

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Here to Play, Here to Stay
Asia Tour 2011

Chelsea’s first Here to Play, Here to Play tour took place in the summer of 2011, when we travelled to south-east Asia. The club had regularly visited the region prior to this trip but, as the slogan attributed to this tour suggests, by now the Blues had established a long-standing commitment to help develop grassroots football in the region, as Chief Executive Ron Gourlay explained.

“Everybody at the club is delighted to be in Asia to play in front of our fantastic supporters. Football preparation is the main reason we are here, but we also have many other interests in Asia, like our sponsor Samsung, our relationship with the Asian Football Confederation and our many grassroots projects that show we are determined to leave a lasting legacy for football in this region after we have departed,” he said.

From the moment the squad touched down in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, hundreds upon thousands of supporters turned out at one of the many community visits and signings sessions and the effect was the same at open training sessions and, of course, the matches themselves.

The Blues won our opening game of the tour 1-0 against a Malaysian XI in front of nearly 85,000 fans at the Bukit Jalil Stadium and there were also two big events off the pitch before moving on to Thailand.
Ashley Cole and Nicolas Anelka were among the players who joined Chelsea Foundation coaches on a visit to the club’s recently-opened Blue Pitch facility, where local children benefit from expert tuition at a Chelsea Soccer School all year round.

John Terry, Gourlay,  Josh McEachran and former Blue Graeme Le Saux showed their support for our partnership with the Asian Football Confederation on a trip to their headquarters. This reflected our involvement in the Vision Asia grassroots development programme, not to mention the creation of Blue Pitch facilities in Hong Kong and Malaysia, with a soccer school opening in our next destination, Bangkok, shortly after the trip.

Soon after arriving in the Thai capital, thousands of fans turned out to see Didier Drogba, Gourlay and then manager Andre Villas-Boas pay their respects to the King of Thailand at the Siriraj Hospital.

First-team regulars Alex and Florent Malouda were then joined by young homegrown products McEachran and Nathaniel Chalobah on a visit to a coaching session on behalf of Samsung before the Blues put on an impressive display to beat a local Premier League All-Star side 4-0.

On the final leg of the tour, in Hong Kong, we were competing for the Barclays Asia Trophy. After beating local side Kitchee 4-0, we saw off Aston Villa 2-0 in the final, to reclaim a piece of silverware we had won eight years previously, just after Roman Abramovich had bought the club.

There was also more important community work, with Frank Lampard, Petr Cech, Fernando Torres and Salomon Kalou attending a coaching clinic at Chelsea’s Hong Kong Blue Pitch, the first constructed outside the UK having opened in December 2009.

With victories on the pitch and a huge amount of activity off the field everywhere we visited, the Blues’ first Here to Play, here to Stay tour was an overwhelming success. 

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