CARY, N.C. – The Hammers have arrived – or at least a few of their front office personnel have.
In preparation for the upcoming international friendly between the North American Soccer League‘s (NASL) Carolina RailHawks and English Premier League (EPL) squad West Ham United FC, executives from the visiting side took a tour of WakeMed Soccer Park on Wednesday.
The two sides will kick off against one another on July 12th.
West Ham United commercial director Felicity Barnard was impressed.
“It’s a fantastic facility,” Barnard said.
“I think it’s obviously maintained very well and something that is going to fulfill our needs when we come over in the summer.”
When choosing match locations for West Ham United’s tour of the United States, Barnard said the club looked for teams that could compete on the same level as an EPL team.
During her visit, Barnard had a chance to watch the RailHawks practicing.
“We need to find teams that can offer us the level of standard of competition that we need and the RailHawks do that for us,” she said.
RailHawks president and general manager Curt Johnson attributes the club’s success in hosting the first-ever EPL team in the Triangle to new owner Steve Malik.
Johnson said that a combination of ownership, community, and vision made the deal possible.
Like Barnard, Johnson said the match-up between the RailHawks and the Hammers will be highly competitive.
“We have the opportunity to test ourselves against one of the top teams in the world,” he said.
“What we are going to see on July 12 is an absolutely fantastic event with a lot of world-class players and a lot of excitement.”
RailHawks head coach Colin Clarke and his team intend to give West Ham United a good game in front of its fans.
Clarke said the game against the Hammers is a historic occasion that cannot be missed.
“It’s a chance for our supporters to have a look at what it’s all about at the top level,” Clarke said.
“It’s a chance to play against the big boys and have some fun.”