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Villa announce US tour as part of 2012-13 pre-season plans
Alex McLeish's team to play three matches in the USA.
27th Mar 2012
Villa announce US tour as part of 2012-13 pre-season plans


Aston Villa announced today pre-season plans for the 2012-13 season - with an exciting US Tour scheduled to kick off against Philadelphia Union followed by games against Chicago Fire and Portland Timbers.

The success of the club's participation in the Barclays Asia Trophy last summer in Hong Kong has encouraged a continued drive to push Villa in key frontiers.

America boasts 19 Villa Supporters' Clubs across its vast expanse, including Chicago Lions and Philadelphia's.

Genting, the club's principal partner, also operates a state-of-the-art casino and entertainment facility adjacent to the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, New York, opened in 2011.

This will be Villa's fourth tour Stateside having previously played in Columbus in 2007 - a trip that also included a game in Toronto, Canada - New York in 1999 and Atlanta 30 years before.

Villa will play Philadelphia Union on July 18 at PPL Stadium, Chicago Fire on July 21 at Toyota Park and Portland Timbers on July 24 at JELD-WEN Field.

"The competition will be good and the facilities top-class, so this will be great preparation when the time comes for the season ahead," said Villa manager Alex McLeish.

"We're not taking our eyes off the immediate challenge by any means and our focus is very much on this weekend's game against Chelsea at Villa Park.

"But it's heartening to see a glimpse of the new dawn on the horizon and this tour will be one that everybody at the club can look forward to."

Villa CEO Paul Faulkner added: "There will be real value in the tour for Alex and the players on the pitch and also off the pitch for the club as a whole with the commercial and marketing side as well as the community aspect very much on our agenda, as they were last summer in Hong Kong.

"That was an exciting and hugely positive experience for the club and I'm sure we will work hard as a club to ensure we can see further development in a country in which the game has increasingly taken root.

"We worked closely with our shirt partner, Genting, in Hong Kong and their presence in the US will make this another mutually beneficial exercise, with the promotional possibilities to further enhance the profile of the club particularly strong.

"Commercially, we are always looking to grow the club while remaining true to the values we espouse as Villa people.

"I see this as a wonderful opportunity and I thank the staff of the teams we will play for the courtesy and welcome they have already shown us in helping us to put these games together."

Former Benfica winger Freddy Adu is the most renowned player for Philadelphia Union, who made Major League Soccer's playoffs for the first time last season having only been established as an expansion club in 2010.

Chicago Fire were MLS Cup winners in 1998 and runners-up in 2000 and 2003.

They have won the US Open Cup - their equivalent of the FA Cup - four times and have finished as runners-up twice (including in 2011), making the Fire the most successful MLS team in that competition.

USA internationals Brian McBride, Carlos Bocanegra, Jonathan Spector and DaMarcus Beasley all began their careers here, while their imports have included former Arsenal 'Invincible' Freddie Ljungberg and Ballon D'Or recipient Hristo Stoichkov.

The Fire currently lie third in the Eastern Conference and are led by German defender Arne Friedrich, who won 82 caps for his country and played in four major tournaments, the past two European championships and the past two World Cups.

Portland Timbers are participating in only their second season in MLS.

They are coached by former Chelsea striker John Spencer and among their ranks are former Rangers striker and all-time leading Scottish Premier League goalscorer Kris Boyd and former Manchester United trainee Eddie Johnson.

Villa defenders Alan Hutton and Carlos Cuellar are former teammates of Boyd at Rangers FC where they won the Scottish Cup, Scottish League Cup and reached the finals of the then UEFA Cup during the 2007-08 season.

Alex McLeish managed Boyd during the 2005-06 campaign at Rangers as well as in 2007 while he was manager of the Scotland national team.

Information on tickets will be available from the ticket office (0800 6120970) and www.avfc.co.uk.

Also, every supporter who renews or buys a new season ticket before May 31 will be entered into a prize draw to win a trip to be part of the club's US Tour - click the banner below for full details. 

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