Chelsea reveal plan to avoid major problem that scuppered Tuchel reign
Blues will stick to the east coast this time, following Manchester United in scheduling a Wrexham friendly.
Chelsea are in talks to hold a pre-season training camp in Philadelphia, allowing the players to avoid the exhausting travel schedule they endured last summer.
In a rare interview on the London is Blue podcast, director of football operations Dave Barnard confirmed another US tour.
The club is also said to be planning to use their Philadelphia, Pennsylvania base to stay on the east coast for the duration of the trip.
Although not yet confirmed, the Blues will face Wrexham, the club co-owned by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, on July 19 at Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
The National League leaders will face Manchester United in San Diego, California, after their owners secured the lucrative friendly through a hit Disney+ series.
Following that, a number of other fixtures will be scheduled in preparation for the Premier League season, which begins on August 12.
Last season’s pre-season tour, which culminated in a 4-0 loss to Arsenal in Florida, left the players exhausted. During two weeks in blistering heat, they traveled from coast to coast across all six US time zones, beginning with a training camp in Los Angeles and ending with one in humid Orlando.
Prior to their loss to Arsenal, the Blues lost on penalties to Charlotte FC, which the MLS side describes as the biggest upset in their short history, and won their first match in Las Vegas against Club America.
Former head coach Thomas Tuchel said he would have preferred a “old school pre-season in Austria” before being fired because it contributed to the season’s slow start. Graham Potter, Tuchel’s successor, said his players described it as the “worst pre-season ever” as he sought explanations for their poor form this season.
“One thing is from a football standpoint,” Barnard said. We must prioritize Premier League preparation before adding all of our commercial activity and everything else to generate the name of Chelsea. We look for the best training facilities, and the NFL teams have the best.”
It opens the door to a collaboration with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles at the NovaCare Complex. The Blues would be only two to three hours away from major markets such as New York, Washington, DC, and Baltimore.