In his latest blog for the official Chelsea website, Stephen Rea explains why he's still keeping updated with news of the Blues in action around the world...
Being a Chelsea fan takes up a lot of your time. Even in the dog days of summer, we have Blues players to keep up with. The club’s representatives competed simultaneously in four tournaments on three continents this month in a snapshot of what a worldwide phenomenon the sport now is. As a British fan who lives in the United States, I have a particular interest in the global aspect of our team.
I’ve paid most attention to our women taking part in the World Cup in France for a few reasons. Firstly, we are at the quarter-final stage and with nine players still involved, it’s a large contingent: four members in the England squad, three with Norway and two from Sweden.
Also, I’m writing a column for a Louisiana newspaper about the competition, so I’ve been watching as many matches as I can. I live and work there, so with the Americans favourites to lift the title, it’s in both my professional and private interests that they do well.
Similarly, I’ve been keeping up with the CONCACAF Gold Cup. It’s like the European Championships for North America, Central America, and the Caribbean, and is currently running across the USA (with Costa Rica and Jamaica also hosting double-headers).
I haven’t managed to catch any of those contests. I’m on a short family holiday in Holland, so we are between six and nine hours ahead of the kick-offs in the States. It’s meant that so far, my acquaintance has been limited to watching highlights and reading match reports.
Then there’s the Copa America, the South American tournament, in which Willian is turning out for the hosts Brazil. Again, I haven’t seen any matches live, but I keep up each day with what is going on.
Also, at both of the tournaments on the two American continents, the group stage is usually pedestrian. Neither region has the strength in depth that Europe has when it comes to national teams. For instance, Cuba shipped seven goals to both Canada and Mexico, while Guyana conceded four in each of their two opening games against Panama and the USA.
Finally, the European Under-21 Championship is being staged in Italy and San Marino, although our five English players were knocked out after two games.
Different continents, different FIFA regions, different competitions. But all featuring Blues from the same club.