Hammers heading Stateside

West Ham United will travel to the United States of America for a two-match pre-season tour in July 2016
  • West Ham United will travel to the United States in July 2016
  • The Hammers will take on MLS club Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field on Tuesday 5 July
  • Slaven Bilic’s side will face NASL team Carolina RailHawks on Tuesday 12 July
West Ham United are delighted to announce that the first-team squad will travel to the United States of America for their 2016 summer tour.

Slaven Bilic’s Hammers will head across the Atlantic Ocean for an eleven-day tour highlighted by a prestige pre-season fixture with the Seattle Sounders, the best-supported and most-valuable franchise in Major League Soccer (MLS), on Tuesday 5 July.

A second fixture will see the Hammers travel to Cary, North Carolina, to tackle North American Soccer League (NASL) team Carolina RailHawks on Tuesday 12 July.
West Ham United Vice-Chairman Karren Brady says the summer tour to the United States will further boost the Club’s ever-growing global support-base.
“West Ham’s global fanbase is expanding further with each passing year,” said the Vice-Chairman. “Through tours like this, we can give our overseas supporters a chance to see their heroes in the flesh, and win over even more new fans for the future.

“Next season is going to be a hugely exciting and important one for West Ham, as we begin a new era in our magnificent new Stadium, and there will be no better way to prepare than with a successful tour of the United States, and games against strong American opposition.

“The Seattle Sounders are renowned throughout America for the passion and loyalty of their fans, so we already have a lot in common, as well as our shared history of former players. We look forward to visiting the Emerald City, and strengthening our ties with the United States still further.”

Manager Slaven Bilic is also looking forward to travelling to the United States to kick-off West Ham's preparations for the 2016/17 season.

“This is great news for everyone associated with West Ham United," said Bilic. "We have been planning our pre-season preparations for a while now and when the opportunity was presented to travel to America, we were delighted to pursue it.

"I, my staff and the players are already excited about playing in the United States, and we are looking forward to taking the squad to new places, meeting new supporters and spreading the name and style of West Ham United far and wide.

"The main purposes of pre-season are to build up the players' fitness and sharpness while training and playing competitive matches. This tour will help us to do that and we are very much looking forward to it."
The mouth-watering meeting with the Sounders will take place at the iconic CenturyLink Field, where the hosts’ average home attendance in 2015 was 44,247, more than 11,000 more than second-place Orlando City. Six of the eight highest gates in MLS history have been for Seattle home games.

Ticketing details for West Ham's visit on Saturday 5 July can be found here now!

During their stay in Washington State, the Hammers will be based in downtown Seattle and will train at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center (VMAC), a world-class waterfront facility which is the headquarters of the Seattle Seahawks NFL franchise.

The Sounders are four-times US Open Cup winners and topped the Western Conference standings as recently as 2014.

The fixture further cements the historic links between the two clubs, dating back more than four decades to the original incarnation of the North American Soccer League.

Hammers and England great Sir Geoff Hurst helped Seattle to the NASL play-offs in 1976, while fellow FIFA World Cup winner Bobby Moore played seven games for Sounders in 1978. Harry Redknapp began his illustrious coaching career as the club’s assistant-manager from 1976-79.

More recently, former West Ham midfielder Fredrik Ljungberg played 37 games for the Sounders in their opening two MLS seasons in 2009 and 2010.

A look at the current Seattle roster reveals that former Hammer Tyrone Mears, former United States captain and Premier League star Clint Dempsey and Austria midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz are regulars in the club’s famous green and blue shirts.

From Seattle, the Hammers will fly south east to the town of Cary, North Carolina, for an exciting fixture with the NASL franchise Carolina RailHawks at their smart WakeMed Soccer Park home.
Founded in 2006, the RailHawks are named for a fictitious bird of prey that combines the speed and power of the locomotive with the aggressive and fierce nature of a hawk. Cary is a town with a long association with the railway, while hawks are indigenous to the local area.

Coached by former Southampton and Northern Ireland striker Colin Clarke, the forward-thinking RailHawks have started the 2016 season in superb form, winning their opening four Spring Season fixtures to top the table.

Boasting a cosmopolitan squad that includes three Englishmen, the RailHawks are two-time US Open Cup quarter-finalists and topped the NASL Regular Season table in both 2010 and 2011.

Futher details and travel information for West Ham’s summer 2016 tour of the United States will be announced on whufc.com and the Club’s social media channels over the coming days and weeks.