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Everton to play in Edmonton July 25th, 2009


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This is referenced in another thread however it is probably more appropriate here.

Everton is announced to play in Edmonton July 25th....

see here..


Soccer's elite to play in city

FA Cup runners up will meet unnamed opponent in July

By Curtis Stock, The Edmonton JournalJune 2, 2009Comments (16)

StoryPhotos ( 1 )

Everton's Louis Saha plays against Chelsea in Saturday's FA Cup final.

Photograph by: Adrian Dennis, Agence France-Presse, Getty Images, The Edmonton JournalLocal soccer fans will get a chance to watch two of the top professional teams in the world next month.

Everton, the English Premier League side, who narrowly lost in the FA Cup final to Chelsea last Saturday, has signed a contract to play an exhibition game at Commonwealth Stadium on July 25, according to sources.

Everton's opponent has not yet been named, but Mike Traficante, the past present of the Alberta Soccer Association and current technical director for the Canadian Soccer Association, said on Monday that organizers are trying to secure a top team from Argentina.

The July game is meant to be the centrepiece of the 100th anniversary of the provincial association.

"It's a huge achievement for us," said Fred Kern, its current president, adding that it's also a huge opportunity for Edmontonians and Albertans to see some of the world's best professional players in action.

Earlier this year, it was expected Italian league champion Inter Milan was going to be the showcase team to play in Edmonton. Those plans, however, unravelled.

Everton is comparable to Inter, but given their narrow 2-1 loss to Chelsea in this past weekend's FA Cup Final, may have a higher profile.

"I'm more than excited. This is like having dessert," said Kern. "They (Everton) are one of the best teams in the world."

Kern said Mel Kowalchuk, president of the Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League, of which the Edmonton Drillers belong, was putting it all together.

When contacted on Monday, however, Kowalchuk, said: "Given what happened with Inter Milan, I'd rather not say anything."

Traficante, who is also instrumental in getting the game for Edmonton, said: "My understanding is that what was signed with Inter Milan was a letter of intent, but this one is the real contract."

Inter Milan is also playing three other games in North America from July 19 to July 26 and did not want to play a fourth game.

A press conference to announce the July 25 Everton game in Edmonton is expected in the next few days.

Everton, which got to the FA Cup Final by defeating Manchester United, was missing three of their top players when they lost to Chelsea on Saturday -- midfielder Mike Arteta and key strikers Phil Jagielka and Yakubu Ayegbeni.

Ayegbeni joined Everton for a club-record fee, the equivalent of $20.2 million Cdn. He was the first Everton player to score more than 20 goals in an English Premier League season since 1992.

Jagielka was named Everton's player of the season as well as the player's player of the season.

In the 2-1 loss to Chelsea, Louis Saha scored the fastest goal in FA Cup final history -- just 25 seconds into the match.

Other top players for Everton include keeper Tim Howard, midfielder Tim Cahill, captain Phil Neville, the former United midfielder who has six Premiership titles, three FA Cups, a Champions League winner's medal and a World Club Cup title, and youngster Marouane Fellaini.


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Looks like its River Plate


EDMONTON - Two of the world's top professional soccer teams will play in Edmonton on July 25, officials confirmed Wednesday.

Everton, the English Premier League side, which narrowly lost to Chelsea in the FA Cup final, will play an exhibition game against River Plate of Argentina at Commonwealth Stadium.

Event promoter Mel Kowalchuk did not say how much the tickets would cost. He said he has to sell about 20,000 to break even, but "with a little luck, between 35,000 and a sellout, that's certainly what we're hoping for."

It would be surprising if the game drew as many as last year's match between the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Los Angeles Galaxy, featuring David Beckham. That game had 37,000 in attendance. But Kowalchuk said the quality of Everton vs River Plate will be higher.

"On the Everton club, there are better players than Beckham, but they don't have the same appeal," he said. You're talking a higher calibre of game. If you want to see a good sporting event, these guys will put one on."

The July 25 game should also provide more of a legacy than a onetime appearance by a star, he suggested. "We want to help grow the game of soccer as opposed to just grab the money and run," Kowalchuk said. The game is the centrepiece of the 100th anniversary of the Alberta Soccer Association.

Kowalchuk stubbornly pursued about 15 club teams from around the world until two of them accepted his offer of a significant appearance fee to play a friendly in Edmonton. He almost secured Inter Milan, which will be playing some matches in North America, but an Edmonton stop fell through.


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Commonwealth Coup

From a purist's perspective, this could be the biggest soccer game ever held in Commonwealth Stadium.

Yes, Brazil was here.

But they were facing Canada as a tune-up for the 1994 World Cup, and were more concerned with getting through the exhibition contest intact than playing all-out to win it.

They barely broke a sweat in the 1-1 tie against the hosts -- which by the way things are going with the Canadian Soccer Association -- may never qualify for a World Cup again.

David Beckham was here.

But he was a novelty, playing on a Major League Soccer squad that he eventually deserted, against a group of part-time professionals who aren't even recognized in their own cities.

There were two world championships held here.

And while often entertaining, the games were contested by teenagers, many of which will never go on to play with a high-ranked professional team.

Everton and River Plate are on a different level.

Just the animosity alone between the two countries they represent (Don't mention the Falkland Islands war) should be enough to guarantee an intense contest.

Getting both professional clubs to play an exhibition game here on July 25 is a huge coup for the city and should appeal to even the modest soccer fan.

Those who feel soccer is a foreign game played by foreigners need not apply.

"It's in the millions to bring these teams here," said Mel Kowalchuk, the point man of the event.

"There are certain things that you do to defray the costs, and I've learned over the months of negotiations that it's a lot easier to give them a dollar figure all in and let them worry about the flights and everything else."

Organizers will probably need nearly 25,000 spectators to break even on the game. But this is a soccer town, so barring extremely bad weather that day, it should be attainable.

The fact that it's on Indy weekend doesn't concern organizers, although at first Everton was only going to make itself available on the day of the race, which probably would not have worked out well.

Originally, the organizing group led by Kowalchuk, wanted an Italian club.

They went as far as to fly to Italy to try and secure Serie A champions Inter Milan. They even got a signed letter of intent, which eventually proved to be worthless.

No problem. The running joke among non-Italian soccer fans, is that the outcome of that game would have probably been pre-determined anyway due to the recent match-fixing scandal in the country.

Undaunted, the group was able to land Everton of the English Premier League.

Club representatives were impressed enough during a visit to Edmonton in April that they returned home to Liverpool recommending the team swing through Canada on their pre-season tour of North America.

From there, it was just a matter of finding a suitable opponent.

"We can't thank Everton enough," Kowalchuk said. "What this game is going to do is set us up for the future. In the world of professional soccer, Edmonton doesn't register. But Everton gave us a lot of clout when they signed. We need someone like that on board to begin with."


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And an article from the UK...

Everton FC to play Argentina's River Plate in Canada

Jun 11 2009

Add a commentRecommend EVERTON have confirmed they will be playing in aprestigious friendly against one of the giants of South American football this summer.

David Moyes’s men will take on River Plate, Argentinian champions a record 33 times.

The game will take place in Canada at The Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton, which is a 60,000 all-seated venue, on July 25. Kick-off will be at 7.30pm local time (July 26, 2.30am BST).

Everton captain Phil Neville is excited by the prospect of playing River Plate and said: “Everyone who knows football knows about River Plate.

“I am really looking forward to the match and it will, of course, be a very tough test for us at that stage of our pre-season preparation.

“Any games between English and Argentinean teams will be good ones and although this is a friendly for both of us, I’m sure it will be keenly contested.”


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