USA to Play Northern Ireland in Friendly

Northern Irish to Help US Build up?

Northern Irish to Help US Build up?

The United States Soccer Federation has asked the Irish Football Association for a friendly fixture to be played in March or May as part of their preparation for their 2010 World Cup campaign. The USA play England in their first game on June 12th, and a match against a country playing a broadly similar style is seen as useful preparation.

According to Jim Kennedy, President of the IFA, the Americans have asked the Irish FA for the game, but the venue is less certain. Northern Ireland’s largest stadium Windsor Park has a capacity of just 20,000 and the IFA have let the Americans know that they may be prepared to travel to the USA. One other alternative is to play the game in England where there is a multitude of higher capacity stadia, and a public keen to see England’s future opponents. There would also be a large number of Ulstermen who would make the trip to add to the crowd size.

Kennedy confirmed he has a number of offers for friendlies but the USA was the front-runner, adding ‘the match would likely to be staged away from Windsor Park to make it financially feasible.’

Dave Martin is a Seattle resident and a passionate member of the Green and White Army (GAWA), the official supporters’ group of the Northern Ireland side. We asked him what Bob Bradley’s outfit could expect to find when they took the field against his side.

“The USA would find a game against Northern Ireland somewhat similar in style to a game against England. The quality might not be the same as the English, although we did beat them in 2005 World Cup qualifier. I remember before the World Cup finals in England 1966 (which we are not allowed to forget) both West Germany and Mexico came to Belfast for warm up games. West Germany won 2-0 but we beat the Mexicans 4-1. I couldn’t see that happening today with this American side though.”

Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay are among the countries that have requested a friendly with the side who finished behind Slovenia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic in qualifying.

Northern Ireland are managed by Nigel Worthington and most of their players play in the English or Scottish leagues. Manchester United’s Jonny Evans, former Newcastle winger Keith Gillespie, Odense goalkeeper Roy Carroll and Sunderland’s David Healy are their best known players, although the current keeper of first choice is Birmingham’s Maik Taylor.

Taylor however played over 180 games for Fulham where he had many US nationals among his teammates including Eddie Lewis, and Marcus Hahnemann. In Fulham’s 2007/8 season, Northern Ireland’s Chris Baird, David Healey and Aaron Hughes were team mates at Craven Cottage with Carlos Bocanegra, Clint Dempsey, Brain McBride, Kasey Keller and Eddie Johnson.

The IFA are not to be confused with the FAI who have recently made the headlines by demanding replays and to be the 33rd team at the World Cup.

An IFA spokeswoman would not confirm the match though telling us, “At present, Northern Ireland has no confirmed friendlies for next year. Discussions with a number of countries with regards the international dates in March and May are still ongoing.”

Also see:

US Opponents Start to Line up Friendlies

Bobby McMahon Podcast Interview: USA Will Go Through

Yankee Doodle Dreamdraw


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  1. Would love to see NornIreland play in the Emerald City! ps: I’d love to see NornIreland/Glasgow Ranger forward Kyle Lafferty have a go with SSFC. “He’s tall, fast, and mean … and would look fit in rave green!”

  2. NI v USA would be interesting game . Plenty of Northern Ireland fans would make the trip across to England if it was to be played there. Good luck to USA in South Africa would love to be going with GAWA. Personally will be following Slovenia’s fortunes as they qualified from Northern Irelands group and their fans were fantastic when we played them in Maribor, Slovenia