West Ham United and the US

A look back at West Ham United's historic links with the United States of America ahead of the Hammers' summer tour

West Ham United will travel to the United States for the first time in eight years when they head to Seattle and Carolina for their 2016 summer tour.

The Hammers have been semi-regular visitors to North America over the past 50-plus years, playing in a variety of tournaments and challenge matches in that time.

West Ham were regular visitors to the United States in the 1960s and 1970s, when Ron Greenwood’s side took part in the International Soccer League, becoming the only English team to win the competition in 1963.

The Hammers also took on Spanish giants Real Madrid in the first soccer match to be played indoors at the Houston Astrodome in Texas in April 1967.

Bobby Moore’s West Ham drew 2-2 with Pele’s Santos of Brazil at Downing Stadium in Randall’s Island in New York State in November 1970, while Greenwood’s squad returned to the United States for a whistle-stop eleven-match tour in May/June 1971.
The late West Ham striker Phil Woosnam (1959-62) emigrated to the United States in 1966, becoming head coach of the United States national team in 1968. The Welshman was Commissioner of the North American Soccer League (NASL) from 1969-83 and is credited as an important figure in the development of the NASL in the 1970s.

Seattle-based Sounders FC and West Ham share connected history, with several players having represented both clubs at various points in their career. Current Seattle full-back Tyrone Mears made six appearances for the Irons during the 2006/07 Barclays Premier League campaign.

Harry Redknapp appeared more than 150 times for West Ham during his playing career before going on to manage the club from 1994 to 2001, with the east London native also plying his trade for the North American Soccer League Sounders from 1977 to 1979.

West Ham legend Sir Geoff Hurst made 23 appearances for the Sounders during the 1976 NASL season alongside fellow former Hammers and England great Bobby Moore, who represented the Sounders seven times during the 1978 NASL campaign. 

More recently, this year's summer tour marks the Hammers’ first visit to North America since 2008. Then, Alan Curbishley’s side defeated MLS team Columbus Crew 3-1 in Ohio, before going down to a 3-2 defeat by an MLS All-Stars side featuring David Beckham in Toronto, Canada.

Former West Ham players currently plying their trade in the MLS include Frank Lampard (New York City FC), Tyrone Mears (Seattle Sounders), Robbie Keane and Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy) and Liam Ridgewell (Portland Timbers). Joe Cole has recently signed for Carolina RailHawks' NASL rivals Tampa Bay Rowdies.