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Chelsea Football Club is in the U.S. preparing for their Premier League title defense and have spent some time turning Harlem blue.  Oscar, Cezar Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill, Diego Costa and Eden Hazard spent time this week meeting young fans in Harlem as part of the #BeTheDifference campaign.

Photo credit: Chelsea FC

Photo credit: Chelsea FC

Photo credit: Chelsea FC

Photo credit: Chelsea FC

Photo credit: Chelsea FC

Photo credit: Chelsea FC

Photo credit: Chelsea FC

Photo credit: Chelsea FC

Photo credit: Chelsea FC

Photo credit: Chelsea FC

The event included a 2 v 2 soccer tournament with some of the top talent from around NYC along with DJ Neil Armstrong and Cozy Boys, and leading global soccer freestylers F2 Freestylers from the UK and Jayinho and Flo from the U.S.

Photo credit: Chelsea FC

Photo credit: Chelsea FC

Chelsea’s visit is about more than just today’s players but has sights on the future.  In a separate event, representatives of the Blues as well as affiliate club, FC Harlem, were on hand to unveil the plans for an iconic new blue field training facility.  The blue field will allow for year-round play and benefit over 1,500 players every year.

Chelsea Blue Pitch rendering. Photo credit: Chelsea FC

Chelsea Blue Pitch rendering. Photo credit: Chelsea FC

“Soccer has global appeal, and Harlem is Manhattan’s most culturally diverse neighborhood,” said FC Harlem executive director, Irv Smalls. “The new pitch will positively impact youth not only by instilling in them core life skills such as resilience, integrity, responsibility and teamwork but also by providing employment and internship opportunities for participants, becoming a beacon for FC Harlem’s ground-breaking community work.”

The $3 million project is scheduled to break ground in early 2016.  It is part of Chelsea’s ‘Here to Play, Here to Stay’ where they make a long-term commitment to the grassroots game in cities they visit around the globe.  Similar fields are in place in London and Southeast Asia.

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