No doubt many of you watched the Premier League Restart due to the lack of American sports these past few months, and no doubt many of you have joined the thousands of other Americans already hooked on its great action and drama.
But, what many of you probably haven’t done yet, and may be thinking of doing before the 2020/2021 season starts September 12th, is picking a team to support. Well, as a seventeen-year, American Premier League fan myself, let me make the case for the never dull, always passionate Chelsea FC.
First, a little lesser known fact: Chelsea FC is one of the first European clubs to develop an inner-city partnership with an American city—Harlem FC, in New York. The goal is to help make soccer more accessible and equitable in the States, which has long been criticised for its pay-to-play model. And Chelsea aren’t simply doing the minimum here for good PR; the Foundation has been widely applauded for building a brand-new pitch facility, providing free cutting-edge equipment, and even routinely flying over its top coaches, staff, and even club legends to offer further aid and advice. Support Chelsea, and you’ll also helping support the future of American soccer!
This wouldn’t be the first innovative thing Chelsea have done either, as the club have long been big believers in innovation—such a trait sound familiar? During the 2019/2020, Chelsea saw such an abundance of energetic youth play, that we know see other big clubs looking to their own academies for similar inspiration. With the likes of Mount, Abraham, James, Gilmour, Loftus-Cheek, Hudson-Odoi, Tomori, and others, Chelsea look set for at least the next decade with millions saved on top of it. However, youth domination is something that Chelsea has been doing for much of the Roman Abramovich era, along with dominating the women’s game too (USWNT fans, anyone?), much because of our owner’s passionate investment in every aspect of Chelsea. But even before Roman, Chelsea were one of the first to have a youth system, going all the way back to the 1960’s.
Now some may say that youth was played out of necessity, not idealism. I think Chelsea would agree. On top of being innovative, Chelsea are pragmatic. But above all, they want to win. That’s why the men’s team has won more trophies in the last ten years than any other English club, the U-18’s won five consecutive FA titles between 2014 and 2018, and the women’s team have won the double three times in the past six years. Success is bred into every facet of the club—and what’s more American than doing whatever it takes to win?
Now let’s look to the future. During the recent league shutdown, while most clubs were looking to cut staff and salaries, take government bailouts, and even gouge ticket prices to keep their owners’ pockets cushioned, Chelsea not only kept their players and staff fully paid, but opened its affiliated hotel to NHS workers and donated millions to Covid-19 relief efforts and other charities.
As a result, Roman has more than earned the right and respect to also spend on improving the squad, and boy is he. He’s already bought one of the highest rated winger magicians in Hakim Ziyech and the hottest young striker on the planet in Timo Werner to supercharge an already humming team for next year. Now, what’s more American than striking while the iron’s hot?
This won’t be the first time Chelsea have “ruined” football either—much like Ford did with Formula One, Frank Lampard, still being the Shelby GT 350 that he is, embodies the legacy of just that for Chelsea. When he, John Terry, Didier Drogba, Petr Cech, and Jose Mourinho entered the scene at the beginning of Roman Abramovich’s era, they left a winning at all cost DNA that now runs throughout the entire club from the youth, to the women’s team, to cutting edge analytics, world-class staff, equipment, and facilities, and, of course, the men’s senior squad.
Great things await for our boys in the upcoming 2020/2021 season. Youth having been blooded; some of the best new talents are coming in. Mr. Chelsea himself is at the wheel, playing a fast, exciting style of football and proving all the doubters wrong. With so much good happening both on and off the pitch at Chelsea, even the casual neutral will have a hard time not getting hooked this upcoming season (if they aren’t already).
Oh, and yes, of course, we can’t forget the man, Captain America, Christian Pulisic himself. Hershey, Pennsylvania: it doesn’t get more damn American than that. Who knows what could’ve been this season if he weren’t injured, but over the next, surely we’re going to see Chelsea produce the world’s first, world-class American player. So I lied, you should become a Chelsea fan to be there when that happens too.