Pre-season! It's so close, finally; you can practically smell it! Both the U-18s and the U-21s of Chelsea are in action today while the first team has left on a jet plane, heading west, turning left at Greenland, and landing in America in a few short hours. First destination is Seattle. The full schedule of the tour:
- Seattle, WA: v. Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field. Wednesday, July 18th, 6:30pm PDT / 2:30am BST (Thursday)
- New York, NY: v. Paris St.-Germain at Yankee Stadium. Sunday, July 22nd, 7pm EDT / 12am BST (Monday)
- Philadelphia, PA: v. MLS All-Stars at PPL Park. Wednesday, July 25th, 8:30pm EDT / 1:30am BST (Thursday)
- Miami, FL: v. AC Milan at Sun Life Stadium. Saturday, July 28th, 6pm EDT / 11pm BST
That's four matches in 10 days so Chelsea are traveling with a suitably large squad. 25 players departed today, with 5 more looking to join up somewhere in the middle. These five - Ashley Cole, Florent Malouda, Raul Meireles, John Terry, Fernando Torres - were all involved in Euro 2012, so the extra rest is more than warranted. All three new signings are on board and they are joined by several young faces including Nathaniel Chalobah, who is still just 17. Four first teamers - Ryan Bertrand, Juan Mata, Oriol Romeu, Daniel Sturridge - do miss due to their upcoming Olympic involvement.
The full roster: