Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League held an open training session at the Nutrilite Training Facility on Thursday, July 15. The UEFA Champion’s League qualifiers will play club partner San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, July 17 at 1 p.m. PT at Buck Shaw Stadium. The exhibition match will be televised on both ESPN and ESPN Deportes.
Over 1,200 fans lined the field to watch the Spurs train. All of Tottenham Hotspur's - Robbie Keane, Carlo Cudicini, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Luka Modric included - signed autographs and posed for pictures on their way off the pitch.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith and offensive tackle Joe Staley were also in attendance, giving interviews and taking part in the training session. Earthquakes players Jon Busch, Bobby Burling and Justin Morrow also joined in the action and chatted up Spurs players as well as Smith and Staley.
Redknapp, who served as player-assistant manager with the Seattle Sounders of the North American Soccer League from 1976 to 1979, said that he believes there is quality talent in the United States, as evidenced in the World Cup.
“I’d love to see this league take off,” Redknapp said. “It’s a great place for people to come and play and it’s great to see hopefully the American young players improve.”
Keane believes the MLS benefits from the United States qualifying for the World Cup and playing well once there.
“I think (the MLS has) certainly grown,” Keane said. “It helps when you’ve got the U.S.A. in the World Cup. They had a decent tournament and they’ve got some good players there so I think over the years it’s just going to keep growing. I think it’s good for teams in the Premier League, teams like Tottenham and other teams to come over here.”
In addition to playing the Earthquakes, Tottenham Hotspur will face the New York Red Bulls in their new stadium, lining up an intriguing match-up between Keane and MLS newcomer Thierry Henry.
“Fantastic player,” Redknapp said of Henry. “(He’s) absolutely one of the greatest players ever to play in the Premier League in England and a great guy as well. I think he’ll be a good asset to the league. He’s a class guy and a fantastic footballer.”
Tottenham Hotspur will continue to train in San Jose through Tuesday of next week.
2010 Tottenham Hotspur US Tour Roster
GOALKEEPERS: Carlo Cudicini (ITA), David Button, Oscar Jansson (SWE)DEFENDERS: Gareth Bale (WAL), Calum Butcher, Vedran Corluka (CRO), Alan Hutton (SCT), Younes Kaboul (FRA), Kyle Naughton, Adam Smith, Kyle Walker
MIDFIELDERS: Tom Huddlestone, Jermaine Jenas, Niko Kranjcar (CRO), Luka Modric (CRO), Andros Townsend
FORWARDS: Robbie Keane (IRE), Ryan Mason, Jonathan Obika, Roman Pavlyuchenko (RUS)
HEAD COACH: Harry Redknapp
*Names not followed by a country designation, indicate domestic players (England).