Premier League / Soccer / Tottenham / Uncategorized

Tottenham Hotspur’s 2017 USA Tour

Tottenham Hotspur Football Club just concluded its 2017 preseason tour in the US. The team played in Orlando, New York (aka New Jersey), and Nashville. Here is my recap with some shoutouts and anecdotes…

I wasn’t able to attend the Orlando game that showcased Tottenham against Paris Saint-Germain but I was able to go to the match at Red Bull Arena – which was Spurs vs. AS Roma – as well as the match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur in Nashville, Tennessee.

I’ve been to a couple Spurs games in my life – at the Lane and also at Toyota Park when Spurs played against the Fire in Chicago in 2014 – but these games (although were part of the International Champions Cup which is a gimmicky pre-European season tournament that has the name “Cup” in it solely for the purpose of bringing in big teams and fans to pay lots of money…yes, I see the irony of me going to two of the “Cup” games but it’s Spurs, so why not?) were not great but the past week was something I needed to share with you all.

First of all, there was the surprise of the team organizing a low-key meet and greet event at the Niketown store in New York City. I was able to meet a handful of the players and even was offered a mostly-eaten apple from Jan Vertonghen (I turned it down regardless of how hungry I was…it was mainly the core, anyways…), so that was, for one thing, generous. Those Belgians, I tell ya.

Sorry about talking over you, Eric Dier, to speak to Jan about his mostly eaten apple. And though he offered it to me and I declined the rest, I appreciate the sentiment, Jan!

 

That’s the most French look anyone could give anyone. Merci, Hugo.

 

Was able to chat with Cameron Carter-Vickers for a bit. He enjoyed South Korea with the US U-20s as I tried to encourage him in his career at Spurs and with the US senior national team.

 

Toby Alderweireld’s hair in person? Impeccable.

Then on Tuesday, New York Spurs, of which I’m a member, hosted a pre-game city tailgate (aka meeting Spurs Supporters Groups at a bar near the PATH Train) prior to the Spurs vs. Roma match.

At the pre-match meet-up in NYC, I was able to hang out with the Boston Spurs lads. Great group and great to catch up with the handful that I met when Spurs visited Chicago in 2014.

One thing I was reminded of in NYC was that Boston Spurs are good people. If you’re ever in Boston on a match day, head over to the Kinsale Pub in downtown. They’ll take care of you over there.

As for the match, I watched with my New York Spurs people – mainly Crosby and David – and even though Spurs lost 3-2, it was a great atmosphere, I saw my former Chicago Spurs friend, Brian, and a good pre-game game to the game in Nashville (that makes sentence made sense in my head, hopefully it makes sense to you). At the very least, we all were able to see a Vincent Janssen goal FROM OPEN PLAY.

Caught up with Brian – former Atlanta and former Chicago

 

Hanging out after the loss with Crosby, Greg, and Sally

Anyways, NY Spurs – especially Jade, Norf, Dave, Dave, Mark, Matt, Sebastian, and Mush – were fantastic with the events and they deserve the plaudits for such a fun few days.

Now turning to Nashville…

Maybe because it was the last location of the Spurs USA 2017 tour, and more centrally located, Nashvegas had the most amount of Spurs Supporters Groups than they had ever had. I believe it was either 62 or 64 Spurs Supporters Groups attend. Unreal.

The first night Nashville Spurs hosted everyone at their home, the Belcourt Taps.

Oh hey, Nash Spurs (note, I had to wear those shoes all weekend because people noticed them, which I then had to wear so they remembered if they met me or not)

It was an INCREDIBLE night at Belcourt and finally met people like Larry from Atlanta, Chris and Scott from Duluth (MN), the legendary San Diego chairman, Ben, Lissa from all over (currently, if I remember correctly she’s in Nashville), Diane and her husband (whose name I’m forgetting) from Arizona, and quite a few Oklahoma City Spurs, Misheala, Dustin, Brett, and many others from all over that I’m not remembering.

Mike and Jess were in town. A welcome sight from NY/Orlando.

 

IPAs were my choice of beer for the Spurs Supporters Meet and Greet. Delicious but clocks in at 8.2% 😳

 

Just a few of my Chicago Spurs people: Rick, Hana, Gary, Mike, and Tommy.

Friday was a long day as well, but just as fun as Thursday, if not more. A handful of us waited in line for some Hattie B’s Hot Chicken. I had mild and it was still pretty spicy. But delicious. A good lunch after a lot of those aforementioned IPAs. 🙂

Hattie B’s Hot Chicken

After lunch, we jetted on over to the Wildhorse Saloon to set up for Legends Night which was later on during the evening and then walked across the Pedestrian Bridge that spans the Cumberland River to get to Nissan Stadium. The Bridge looked all ready for the game. Very cool.

Pedestrian Bridge flanked with City and Spurs banners

Hung out with Nashville Spurs as I stood in line for my ticket to “Open” Training. Two long lines but worth it.

The panorama of the lines to get into Spurs training.

 

Manchester City’s line for their training that was after Spurs’ training.

 

At training with friends Scott, Joe, Ann, Kevin, and Nate.

 

Here is the Spurs team at training. Really interesting to see how Pochettino has their practice laid out.

 

Following training, there was the obligatory Legends Night with Ledley King at the Wildhorse Saloon. There were 1800 or so fans at the three-story bar/restaurant/concert venue. 1800! Ledley is a great ambassador for Tottenham Hotspur and it’s always interesting to hear him talk about Spurs and interact with fans.

Later after training was Legends Night with Ledley King.

 

At Legends Night I was able to sign for Pochettino. (Larry from Atlanta has this cutout of Pochettino. Go find him next time and hopefully he’ll have it with it. Truly a genius idea come to life.)

I signed with Poch…

 

Yes, I made a shirt with the lyrics to the Toby/Jan chant. Can you blame me? It was hot in Nashville and I wanted to wear something original.

After Legends Night, it was a fun night of wandering around Nashville and meeting people. Thanks to OKC Spurs for letting me hang out with you! Loved getting to know you all and becoming friends.

Then Saturday came…

And there were 16 teams participating in a Spurs Five-a-side tourney.

Five-a-side tournament

The NY Spurs boys won the Five-a-side tourney after a 2-1 win against San Diego Spurs. And yes, their/our ringer was Charlie Kane (and no, Ledley did not play but just gave out the winners’ medals).

NY Spurs won the tourney!

 

After the tourney, it was a day of set up and relaxing and chanting and meeting people at the Nashville/Chicago/Minneapolis/Austin/San Diego/(any other city groups I’m missing) Spurs joint tailgate. I didn’t go to a college known for its tailgating before football games (mainly since I didn’t go to an SEC school), so this was my first foray, really, into that world. And let me tell you: it was a freaking blast.

Tailgate Beer

 

Conner and Jay taking a shot of Malort (with some people playing bags in the background)

 

An overview of the tailgate maybe 2 hours before we went into the stadium – so clearly not as busy as it eventually became.

 

Then, then…we entered the stadium. Here I am with some of my Chicago guys: Jez, Luke, Nate, Gary, and Joe.

It was a match. City won 3-0. There were a solid three sections full of Spurs supporters groups’ fans standing/chanting/yelling the whole time whereas City had about one section spread out over half of two sections.

Match time

 

Was able to see and hang out with these two gems this weekend. My Chicago Spurs sisters, Ann and Hana.

All in all, it was one of the best weekends. I was on about 8 hours of sleep from Friday and Saturday by the time I flew back to NYC but it was completely worth it. From watching training in Nashville and meeting some players in NYC to hanging out with old friends like Boston and Chicago to getting acquainted and experiencing amazing times watching Spurs with new friends like Nashville and San Diego and OKC Spurs, it was a week or so that will be remembered for a long time.

Overall, this explains the whole weekend. Although I’m pretty sure I’m not in this one, nor is this my photo, everyone was full of energy and excitement for Spurs.

This, too. Old friends like Hana from Chicago plus getting to know new friends like Ben and Sean from San Diego and Wes from Nashville, is what weekends like the Spurs tour is all about. Friends that become family (regardless of how cheesy that sounds, it’s really true).

 

And for the record, the next cities that host Spurs when the club comes back to the US will have some huge shoes to fill – at least from my experiences in NYC and Nashville this tour. We have some legendary Spurs fans – special shout outs to Ben of San Diego and Wes of Nashville – and many more can have their legacy cemented next Spurs tour (hopefully my name 😉 ). But for now, here are some others that need their recognition: Those I talked about previously from New York City, some Nashville and SD, as well as these people…Megan, Kenny, Sarah, Sam, Ann, Rick, Stacey (from Spurs), Seth, and Austin Spurs for their pre-game bar crawl. I know I’m missing a ton of names but you are the ones that stick out to me. Great job to everyone involved and know you always have a friendly face when you visit NY Spurs. 😊

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