NEW YORK (Wednesday, April 11, 2012) – Major League Soccer and Chelsea FC today announced that UEFA Champions’ League semifinalist Chelsea FC will face the MLS All-Stars in the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game. The marquee match will be played Wednesday, July 25 at PPL Park, the home of the Philadelphia Union, in Chester, Pa. and broadcast live on ESPN2, TeleFutura, and in Canada on TSN and RDS starting at 8:30 p.m. ET (Please note change from originally scheduled start time and Spanish-language national broadcast).
Philadelphia Union Manager Peter Nowak will lead the MLS All-Stars in a rematch of the 2006 event, when a sellout crowd at Chicago’s Toyota Park witnessed the MLS All-Star team – led by Nowak, then manager of D.C. United – defeat star-studded Chelsea 1-0 on a goal by Dwayne De Rosario. This is the second consecutive season that MLS has awarded the All-Star coaching honor to the host club based on competitive considerations of both the All-Star Game and the MLS Regular Season. For Peter Nowak’s bio, click here.
For the ninth time in the event’s 17-year history, an international club will take on the MLS All-Stars, who have a 5-2-1 record in this format – the most compelling among all-star games in North America. In addition to honoring the best players in MLS, the game has featured successful, world-famous clubs such as Manchester United (2010 & 2011), Everton FC (2009), Chelsea FC (2006), Fulham FC (2005), and Chivas de Guadalajara (2003).
“Hosting a club as successful and prominent as Chelsea FC makes the AT&T MLS All-Star Game a destination event for the North American soccer community, one that will attract a global television audience,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. “Our players relish the opportunity to challenge the world’s best and play under the All-Star spotlight.”
Chelsea FC recently advanced to the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League, is a semifinalist in England’s FA Cup, and is currently in sixth place in the Barclay’s English Premier League. Founded in 1905, Chelsea FC boasts a lineup of international stars such as Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast), Michael Essien (Ghana), Frank Lampard (England), Fernando Torres (Spain), Petr Cech (Czech Republic), Florent Malouda (France), Juan Mata (Spain) and John Terry (England). The AT&T MLS All-Star Game is part of Chelsea FC’s 2012 North American tour, which includes a game against the Seattle Sounders FC on July 18. The remaining details of the tour will be announced at a later date.
“We are excited to have the chance of a re-match against the MLS All-Stars and are in no doubt it will provide a competitive fixture as we build towards the 2012/13 season, having lost narrowly in the match six years ago, with Peter Nowak the All-Stars coach that day too,” Chelsea Chief Executive Ron Gourlay said. “Barclays Premier League clubs regularly take part in this fixture and it will be broadcast live on television around the world. The match also sees Chelsea returning to Philadelphia where we played AC Milan in 2004. There was a large crowd that evening, clearly demonstrating the enthusiasm for the sport in the city and we are looking forward to returning to the States for the sixth time in nine years.”
Philadelphia Union will host the AT&T MLS All-Star Game at PPL Park, the picturesque, 18,500-seat waterfront stadium that opened in 2010. Beginning today at 2 p.m., an exclusive two-week presale allows Philadelphia Union full season ticket holders to purchase up to six All-Star Game tickets per account at a special price. The 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game will be the first all-star event staged in the Philadelphia region in more than a decade.
An exclusive VISA pre-sale will begin on Wednesday, April 25th at 10 a.m. ET via PhiladelphiaUnion.com. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, May 9th 10 a.m. local on PhiladelphiaUnion.com, at the box office, or by calling New Era Tickets at 1-800-298-4200.
“As the title sponsor of 2012 Major League Soccer All-Star Game, AT&T welcomes Chelsea FC to Philadelphia and is proud to host this incredible match-up between our MLS All-Stars and their opponent,” said Phil Stoops, Director of Retail Sales for AT&T Greater Philadelphia Market. “One of our core values is to unleash our human capabilities, and we look forward to watching these talented athletes unleash their athletic skills in one of the world’s most beloved sports.”
ESPN International will make the game available live in more than 100 countries. In addition, the All-Star Game will be carried online and on smartphones and tablets via ESPN3 and WatchESPN in the United States.