Past USA tours: Returning Stateside
With the Swans currently preparing for their seventh season in the Premier League with a 10-day training camp in Philadelphia and North Carolina, we take a look back at the club’s previous tours to America.
In the second part of the series, the Swans head Stateside in July 2014 . . .
Swansea City’s second American adventure came under the managerial guidance of Garry Monk.
Described as a two-week training camp, the club was initially based in Chicago for eight days before moving on to Milwaukee and a flying stop in Minnesota.
It certainly was a tough opening week with a number of triple sessions at the University of Illinois.
After a morning session of running drills, the squad then hit the weights in the afternoon before working on their football skills in the evening.
The main new faces in the squad were Polish international goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, who had arrived two weeks previous from Arsenal, plus Bafetimbi Gomis from Lyon. Young left-back Stephen Kingsley also made the trip after his switch from Falkirk.
Fabianski, Gomis and Kingsley would make their debuts during the second week of the tour after the club flew on to Milwaukee - home of The Fonz.
And it looked to be ‘Happy Days’ as the Swans seemed set for an opening tour game victory over Chivas Guadalajara - 11-time Mexican champions.
Nathan Dyer had given the Swans a 57th minute lead in front of a bumper crowd of 31,000 as Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team, hosted its first ever football game.
But American referee Andres Pfefferkorn dismissed Neil Taylor and Chivas’ Jesus Sanchez with ten minutes to go after squaring up to each other innocuously, before awarding a controversial spot-kick against Jazz Richards with virtually the last action of the game which Giovani Hernandez slotted beyond Gerhard Tremmel.
Swans (first half): Fabianski, Rangel (capt), Bartley, Flores, Kingsley, Richards, Shelvey, Sheehan, Routledge, Bray, Gomis.
Swans (second half): Tremmel, Tiendalli, Amat, Davies, Taylor, Britton, King, Sheehan (Bray, 72; Richards, 82), Dyer, Donnelly, Emnes.
The Swans also took time out to strengthen their links with local soccer club North Shore United, who had turned up in their hundreds to support the club against Chivas.
Monk and coach Kristian O’Leary led a touring party that included Leon Britton, Angel Rangel, Ben Davies and Jay Fulton to visit the club on the outskirts of Milwaukee.
The club had developed a link with North Shore four years previous with Swans Academy coaches travelling to the States to help run Swansea City summer soccer camps, while a number of their young teams had visited the city to take on academy sides.
“To see so many Swans shirts here shows how far we’ve come, especially as the kids know so much about the club and the players,’’ said Britton. “It highlights how much the club is building and expanding and it’s vital to ensure we carry on doing this for the next 10 or 20 years to establish ourselves all over the world.’’
From Milwaukee it was a quick pit-stop in Minnesota to take on the North American Soccer League Spring Season champions before jetting back to Wales.
But the strenuous training schedule and travelling took its toll as Minnesota ran out deserved 2-0 winners in front of 9,064 in their first home game against a Premier League side at the National Sports Center Stadium, Blaine.
There was one notable absentee from the Swans squad, namely Ben Davies, who had already left America behind bound for a move to Spurs.
Swans (first half): Tremmel, Rangel (capt), Flores, Bartley, Kingsley, Richards, King, Shelvey, Dyer, Donnelly, Gomis.
Swans (second half): Fabianski, Tiendalli, Flores, Bartley, Taylor, Britton, Shelvey, Emnes, Routledge, Bray, Gomis (Sheehan, 59).