Kenan Stadium will host its own special event this summer, as it was announced-officially-on Thursday that two United Kingdom football clubs will travel across the pond to play a friendly match in Chapel Hill.
Chelsea FC of the English Premier League and Wrexham FC of the English National League — about five tiers below the Premier League — will meet up in Kenan Stadium on July 19th. The time and the broadcast will be announced later. This would be like if the New York Yankees would be taking on a random Arizona Fall League team. So why on earth would the two teams agree to meet each other?
If you know anything about pop culture right now, you know why. Wrexham FC isn’t any ordinary low-level English Football Club-they are the club that was purchased by Deadpool himself, Ryan Reynolds, along with Rob McElhenney of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. They chronicled their process of becoming football owners in the FX/Hulu series Welcome to Wrexham. The pair purchased the Welsh club during the pandemic and are working hard to get the club elevated through the English League to end up at the same level as Chelsea.
Chelsea, on the other hand, is one of the cream of the crop teams in the Premier League. They’ve won the Premier League five times, and the Champions League as recently as 2021. They are known as “The Blues” to their fans. While this season is seeing them fight for the middle of the pack in the Premier League, It’s unlikely they’ll stay there long. They have a wide legion of International Fans that will descend on the Triangle to watch this friendly event.
The event has been rumored for a couple of months now, with a British newspaper casually mentioning that Chelsea would be headed to Chapel Hill back in March. As things go, though, it takes time to make things official. It’s probably no coincidence that the announcement comes after the completion of Spring practices, especially when you see how Carolina handled the announcement later in the day Thursday
7.19.23— UNC Tar Heels (@GoHeels) April 20, 2023
Great to have some new friends from @ChelseaFC and @Wrexham_AFC with us in Chapel Hill for today's big announcement! #GoHeels x #GDTBATH https://t.co/HshVfHumq5 pic.twitter.com/rgKqI6UfnF
Of course everyone was asking where Ryan Reynolds was. There’s no word if he’ll make the trip over to Chapel Hill to make an appearance for the club or just cash the massive check along with McElhenney to keep trying to get Wrexham further up the League ranks. I’m sure several people are offering up their spare beds if he needs a place to crash.
There’ll be one aesthetic change for Kenan when the match happens-the field. As part of all of these events, none of the clubs will play on artificial turf, so a temporary grass field will be installed in Kenan just for this event.
If you’re interested in going, the public ticket sale starts next Thursday, April 27th at FCSeries.com. No information about ticket costs were given, but considering the event is being hosted on campus, organized by a third party, and has two teams coming, don’t expect the ticket price to be cheap. Honestly, for folks interested it may be more fun just to come into Chapel Hill that Wednesday for people watching.
The good news about ticket sales is that some portion will be going to a good cause. A portion of every ticket sold will be donated to the Pediatric Hematology Oncology Clinic at UNC Children’s Hospital. With a capacity over 50,000 plus multiple premium options available, the Clinic is likely going to get a sizable donation out of it.
So, to Chelsea, Wrexham, and others who’ll travel over to watch — welcome to Chapel Hill.
Good luck with parking.