Tens of thousands of people are expected to flock to Chapel Hill’s Kenan Stadium Wednesday for the 2023 FC Series exhibition between Chelsea and Wrexham.
Chapel Hill is typically known for getting this type of attention for basketball, but now the town is getting put on the map by hosting the first international soccer match of this series.
Chapel Hill is the first stop on Wrexham’s first U.S. tour. Traffic will be heavy, with 50,000 fans expected to attend the soccer match. Chapel Hill Assistant Police Chief Josh Mecimore recommends drivers avoid Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard when heading into town.
In the yellow, shows directions from Interstate 40 East. Drivers will want to take 15-501 to Exit 270. The series has made household names of the likes of manager Phil Parkinson, a coach who has spent his entire career in the lower levels of the sport.
Likewise Paul Mullin, a striker who has never been close to playing in the Premier League but is getting a taste of David Beckham-levels of exposure courtesy of being featured on Reynolds’ Instagram feed, which has 49 million followers.
Wrexham will play games against Chelsea, Manchester United, LA Galaxy II and Philadelphia Union II at venues in North Carolina, Los Angeles, San Diego and Pennsylvania.
While it is a chance to get up to speed before the team returns to the fourth division for the first time in 15 years, it is also an opportunity to build on its fanbase in the United States.
Because, with Wrexham, it is about more than soccer. It had to be if Reynolds and McElhenney were to generate the level of interest required to make their ownership more than just a self-funded passion project.
Wrexham pushed hard for a goal against Premier League opposition, but Connor Gallagher added a cheap third goal with nine minutes remaining to put the game away. Christopher Nkunku added a fourth with seconds remaining in regulation, and then Ben Chilwell got a fifth with the final kick of the game.
In front of over 50,000 fans on the campus of UNC, Wrexham, newly promoted to League Two for this season under the ownership of Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, pushed hard and did not bunker in against a top quality. They had chances, but failed to produce the necessary finish to grab a consolation goal.
Pochettino will now head to Philadelphia to play a Premier League Summer Series match against Brighton & Hove Albion in just three days time. And highlighted in the green, if you’re driving on I-40 West, you can get onto N.C. Highway 54 and take Exit 273A.
All Kenan Stadium parking lots will be open and available, but you have to purchase tickets for these lots before you get there. Rideshare and public transit is also encouraged.
“We have a lot of people who bike and walk on any given day,” Mecimore said. “It’ll be even more because of the game. It’s important that the cars are looking out for those people and driving in a way that keeps everybody safe.”
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