Commerce City, Colo - On Friday the club announced an international friendly against English Premier League side Swansea City which will take place on July 24, 2012 at Dick's Sporting Goods. The team was finishing up training when acting caption Drew Moor informed the players of the announcement. Below are reactions from a selection of players and coach Oscar Pareja on the summer match:
Oscar Pareja (head coach): "I think it's great for the organization, for the fans, for the city to have a game against a team from the Premier League, in this case Swansea who are playing at such a high level, to be on display here in our city. I think it's a special moment and I hope the people take advantage of it and accompany us in this event, and support the players and the game.
It's an important opportunity for both clubs and for MLS to show how much it is growing. It's also a great opportunity that allows the team to keep growing by having an experience against an international team that they're watching on the weekends."
Drew Moor (captain; defender): "I think it's a great opportunity, not only for us as players and as a team to get very good competition from an English Premier League side in the middle of the season, but also for the entire organization, on an international level, to get games against Premier League sides. It should be fun. I know all the players are looking forward it, hopefully their players are looking forward to it. Any time you can play against a Premier League side, you definitely go for it."
Jaime Castrillon (midfielder): "I think it's important to play against teams that play at a high level. The English league is one of the most followed in the world, and I like it. It's a very competitive league and Swansea are a team that will test what we're made of. I think we have a good team that will be prepared to face them and do well."
Tony Cascio (forward/mid): "That's sweet, awesome. Everyone grows up watching EPL on Fox Soccer, and comparing MLS and EPL. It'll be an honor to play them. Everyone always dreams to one day maybe going to play overseas, so actually seeing the competition and playing against them will be a great experience us."
Jamie Smith (midfielder): "I think it's great. It shows the direction that MLS is going. I think that teams want to come over here and they know they're going to get tough competition when they come here. It's also going to be competitive because these guys are right in the middle of preseason and they'll be trying to impress their coach to force their way into the first team. These guys are going to be here working hard, and it will certainly be tough for us, but it will also be tough for them."
Jeff Larentowicz (midfielder): "It's a fun experience for the players, and fun for the fans as well. Although they were just promoted in the last year, they've shown that they can hold their own in the Premier League, which is great. I've played in these games before, and I think that, especially in the summer when the season is long and difficult, if you switch it up and you give the players something to play for and the fans to see, it's fun."
Wells Thompson (midfielder): "It's a huge honor. I think the Premiership is the best league in the world, and Swansea's had a good year. We were talking about how they beat some really big teams. So it's cool, cool to expand the horizons and play teams from across the pond."
Martin Rivero (midfielder): "Every game is important, and for us to go out to win. There's always someone watching so we have to take advantage of these opportunities. As players we always want to keep growing, and being young, these games against European teams are very important as well."
Kosuke Kimura (defender): "A few years ago we played against Everton here. It's always good to have those teams coming here - we can actually see how we can play against them. They say the EPL is one of the top leagues in the world, and Swansea has been playing againt the Manchester United's and City, and all those teams, so they know what it's like to be up there at the top level. It's good to play against them to measure how well we can do. Those games get us good experience and it will be exciting."
Luis Zapata (defender): "For us as players it's always motivating to have these opportunities to play against teams from these big leagues like the Premier League. So we'll work patiently and hope for the opportunity to play in that game. I've not had the opportunity to play against a team from a European league, but it's important and an opportunity to take advantage of."
Kamani Hill (forward/midfielder): "I think it's awesome for us and also awesome for the fans to see us exposed to competition against a team of that level. I'm excited. You always want to challenge yourself against the best teams."
Eddie Ababio (defender): "It's amazing. I feel like this is a tremondous opportunity. Swansea, they say they are the Barcelona of the EPL - they get the ball down and play. So it would be an excellent opportunity to play an EPL side and actually see how we match up with an EPL team."