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AC Milan, Chelsea Trained at UMBC Soccer Stadium on Eve of World Football Challenge Match
Chelsea team captain John Terry
AC Milan and native Brazilian Ronaldinho with UMBC senior Anton Thomas
UMBC assistant coach Anthony Adams with Maryland native and the newest member of AC Milan, Oguchi Onyewu
Chelsea teammates Nicolas Anelka (left) from France and Didier Drogba from the Ivory Coast
A sellout crowd of 71,203 and a national television audience watched as two of the world’s best soccer teams competed at M&T Bank in Baltimore in the World Football Challenge on Friday, July 24. Unbeknownst to most fans was that Chelsea Football Club (UK) and AC Milan (Italy) both worked out on the Bermuda-grass pitch at UMBC Soccer Stadium the day before.
The Italian side went a step further and came to the RAC Arena to shoot some baskets and unwind with an impromptu dodgeball game. Some UMBC staff members and a few members of the Retriever soccer team observed both team practices, while some shocked recreational basketball players and cheerleading campers got an up-close glimpse of Ronaldinho, former Sherwood (Md.) High School star Oguchi Onyewu and the rest of the AC Milan squad.
Both teams were highly complementary of the soccer complex at UMBC and enjoyed interacting with the staff. Needless to say, it was a thrilling moment for the Retriever side.
“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to have two of the best teams in the world train at our facility. We got a chance to interact with the coaches, their staffs and legendary players.”
-UMBC Head Soccer Coach Pete Caringi
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. These are players that you watch on TV and try to imitate their every move, yet we had the rare opportunity to see them in their pregame training up close and personal. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.”
-UMBC junior Sean Rothe