By Maria Xing in Boston
This week marks the start of Liverpool Football Club’s first trip to North America since 2004, and symbolizes the ever-increasing globalisation that the club has undergone.
As described by many, Liverpool is more than a club. It is a way a life. The passion of fans worldwide, the bond it forms between supporters and players, the faith it instills in each and every supporter – these are intangible attributes that no numbers can describe.
As a Red born and raised in America, I share a common dream with every foreign fan: to visit Anfield. Factoring in the cost of travel, accommodations, and tickets, this has not yet been made possible. When Liverpool announced that they were to do a North American tour, I was beyond ecstatic. They soon announced the tour dates – July 21st in Toronto, July 25th in Boston, and July 28th in Baltimore. As a current resident of Boston, I could not be more excited. Seems like I wasn’t the only one, as an atmosphere of enthusiasm heightened in the city.
The Liverpool squad arrived at Logan Airport Monday evening, greeted by earnest local supporters. Since then, they have been hard at work and have had two training sessions a day, none of which are open to the public. Regardless, fans have gone to show their support, waiting outside the training camp in hopes of meeting the team. Legends such as Ian Rush and Robbie Fowler also travelled across the pond. They worked with the LFC Foundation team at a children’s summer camp – Camp Harbour View – to help coach more than 120 kids from the Boston area.
“When the first team go out on tour, all the focus is on the players and rightly so,” said Forbes Duff, who is in charge of Liverpool’s community activities. “But while we are here we like to try and make a difference for the local community and give something back.” One of Liverpool’s most recent acquisitions, the mascot Mighty Red, also joined in on the event.
The club has experienced many changes in the past few months. Former Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers took over in June and has made a great impression on many supporters, winning their hearts despite not having played a single game. There’s something about Rodgers that makes him special, either his delightful footballing philosophy or his shrewdness in the transfer market. He recently acquired Fabio Borini from Roma for a fee of €13.3 million plus bonuses. Borini, who Rodgers has known since his Chelsea Reserves days, impressed fans at his arrival on Merseyside. He spoke of his aspirations at the club:
“Being back with Liverpool is even better because I can show the people what I can do – we’ve got lots of things to play for. I hope to achieve the maximum I can, by scoring goals, getting into the Champions League and all of the things the club also wants – and all the other players. It’s a top club that has won a lot of trophies in the past, and will do so in the future we hope as well.”
Liverpool’s friendly against Toronto will be Rodgers’ first match as official manager and may be Borini’s first as a Liverpool player. It will also be an opportunity for many Academy players to shine, such as Raheem Sterling, Stephen Sama, Adam Morgan, Ryan McLaughlin, Jordan Ibe, and many more. The talented Spain U-19 Euro winner Fernandez Suso, who rejected going on vacation after winning the title, will also feature. Quite obvious that exciting times are ahead.