Two of the most storied English Premier League clubs, Chelsea and Manchester City, will be in St. Louis this week for a historic exhibition match at Busch Stadium tomorrow. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Central Time.
This will be the first international soccer match at Busch Stadium, as well as the first non-baseball sporting event at the ballpark that opened in downtown St. Louis in April 2006.
Thursday’s match is sold out, but you can check cardinals.com/soccer as tickets may be made available up until game time.
Tickets to Chelsea’s training session tonight are available for $20 at cardinals.com/soccer, the Busch Stadium box office and by phone at 314-345-9500. The public training event includes a free concert by indie rock band Cracker, fireworks and a unique crossbar soccer challenge that will end with one fan in attendance winning a trip for two to travel to England next year to see Chelsea play at home.
From Baseball to Soccer – The Busch Stadium Transformation
On Monday, the Cardinals grounds crew began the process of reconfiguring the ballpark for soccer by removing the pitcher’s mound and installing sod in the infield and along the infield warning track. The soccer field will be finished today. The 100 x 65 meter soccer playing field will span from just in front of the visitor’s dugout to the edge of the outfield in front of the home bullpen.
Wednesday, May 22 – Chelsea Training Session Event
As the designated home team, Chelsea will conduct a public training session at Busch Stadium. The training session event promises to be an affordable and special evening for soccer fans. Not only will fans be able to see one of the greatest international soccer teams prepare for their historic match with Manchester City, they can also enjoy a free concert by indie rock band Cracker, fireworks, and have a chance to participate in a unique crossbar soccer challenge that will end with one fan in attendance winning a trip for two to travel to England next year to see Chelsea play at home.
Gates for the training event open at 5 p.m. tonight. Before fans enter Busch Stadium, they may want to visit one of three Chelsea fan-tents set up around the ballpark where they can pick up a complimentary Chelsea flag, sign up for information about the club and take a photo with a championship trophy. The Chelsea fan-tents located at 8th and Clark, Gate 1 and Gate 2 will be open from 3 to 8:30 p.m.
Chelsea’s training session will begin at 7 p.m. and is expected to last just over an hour. The Cross Bar Challenge will start around 8:30, followed by the Cracker concert. The evening will end with fireworks around 9:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 23 – Chelsea vs. Manchester City Match
Fans will want to plan to be downtown early to soak up all the soccer excitement. Budweiser will kick off the formal activities at 4 p.m. with the Budweiser March to the Match Pep Rally at Kiener Plaza.
A full schedule of activities follows:
4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Budweiser March to the Match Pep Rally at Kiener Plaza
The Cardinals and Budweiser will host a pre-match pep rally in Kiener Plaza, located between Broadway, 7th, Chestnut and Market. Local rock band Griffin and the Gargoyles will perform. Budweiser will have their Build-A-Bars and Pool Ball games as well as other soccer-themed activities. Both teams will distribute free items for fans (Chelsea flags and Manchester City megaphones), and the team mascots and a Budweiser Clydesdale will be on hand for photo opportunities. Team officials are scheduled to address the crowd at 5:30 p.m. and invite fans to “March to the Match,” led by the Budweiser Clydesdale and the team mascots down 7th Street to Gate 3 of Busch Stadium.
Pre-match ceremonies begin with an appearance by Chelsea’s mascot, Stamford the Lion, and Manchester City’s brother and sister mascots, Moonbeam and Moonchester.
Chelsea and Manchester City will be introduced. Each team will enter the field with 12 local children dressed in team attire. The referees will be introduced and will conduct a coin toss ceremony with the two teams.
The National Anthem will be performed by Brian Owens of the Missouri Air National Guard Band, Sidewinder. There also will be a flyover by Commemorative Air Force.
Ceremony honoring six St. Louis members of United States Soccer Hall of Fame (Frank Borghi, Bob Herman, Bob Kehoe, Denny Long, Pat McBride and Al Trost)
Watching on TV
The match will be on ESPN 2.
Fans can tune into KMOX (1120 AM) to hear coverage of the match.
Online or On the Go
Fans can also get unique content from the game via the Cardinals’ Twitter account, @Cardinals.
Getting to the Game — Roadwork & Alternative Transportation Reminders
MoDOT will not have any scheduled additional lane closures on state highways inside the city limits for Wednesday or Thursday. There are projects under construction at I-64 and Jefferson and Tower Grove. MoDOT will continue to have three lanes open in each direction of I-64 Wednesday and Thursday to accommodate soccer fans.
MetroLink is a convenient alternative to driving, allowing fans to avoid the cost of parking and game day traffic. To avoid the traffic congestion and the cost of parking on game day, fans can use one of 19 free Park-Ride lots along the MetroLink line and take the train to Stadium Station, right across the street from the ballpark. Check the Metro website www.MetroSt.Louis.org for schedules and the Park-Ride lot nearest you.
Soccer Merchandise Available in Cardinals Team Store
Fans will want to stop by the Busch Stadium Team Store to purchase a variety of soccer-related retail items connected with the historic match. The Team Store has team specific merchandise, as well as special items commemorating the historic match such as t-shirts and scarves. The store is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week, and offers free, 15-minute street parking next to the store entrance at Clark and 8th Street, between Gates 3 and 4. Merchandise will also be available at locations throughout the ballpark on both Wednesday and Thursday.
Media credentials can be picked up at the Media Will Call Window by Gate 2 under the Interstate 64/US Route 40 overpass, beginning at 3:30 p.m., on both Wednesday and Thursday.
The Media/VIP Entrance is located to the immediate right of the Media Will Call Window by Gate 2 with access to the press box via elevator in the Media/VIP Lobby.
A post-match press conference with the coach and players from both clubs will be held in the Press Dining/Media Interview Room on Thursday. A 20-30 meter Mixed Zone will be stanchioned off between the Media Interview Room and the Manchester City/St. Louis Cardinals Home Clubhouse area for player interviews. Chelsea will host a pre-training press conference at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday with Branislav Ivanovic and Juan Mata. No media will be provided access to playing field other than properly credentialed still photographers.
About Chelsea Football Club
Chelsea is one of the most successful teams in England with four Premier League titles and seven FA Cups. The Blues also boast two UEFA Cup Championships, one UEFA Super Cup and one UEFA Champions League title. In 2012 Chelsea, with the help of Spaniards Juan Mata and Fernando Torres, as well as English International and three-time Chelsea Player of the Year Frank Lampard, became the first London club to win the Champions League. On May 15, Chelsea won the Eurpoa League Trophy, beating Benfica 2-1.
About Manchester City Football Club
Informally known as “The Blues” or “The Citizens,” Manchester City FC is an English Premier League side, founded in 1880 as St Mark’s West Gorton. The Club won the 2011-2012 Premier League title and has won 25 major trophies. It counts the European Cup Winners’ Cup, three League Championship titles, and five FA Cups among its honors. The Club plays its domestic home fixtures at the Etihad Stadium, a spectacular 47,500 seat arena, which the Blues made their home following the successful Commonwealth Games in 2003. For more information, please visit www.mcfc.co.uk.