A glamorous $1 million football venture will get underway in the US in Thursday, and Wrexham have recruited a former Premier League player to take part.
The National League champions have entered a team, that includes Hollywood owner Ryan Reynolds, for the seven-a-side Soccer Tournament in North Carolina. The event will consist of 32 teams, including the likes of Borussia Dortmund and West Ham, who will all compete in a winner takes all format.
And midfielder George Boyd, who made more than 100 appearances in England’s top flight for Hull City and Burnley, has been recruited by the Dragons. And they’ll arguably need all of his experience first up, with their opening game against Como 1907 – a side led by former Arsenal and Barcelona playmaker Cesc Fabregas.
Boyd, 37, retired from the professional game in 2021 after a stint at Salford. But he was roped back into the competitive environment by a former teammate at Turf Moor, David Jones, who will serve as player-manager of the North Wales side for the unique competition.
“Dave brought it up and I just jumped at the chance,” Boyd, who also enjoyed two stints at Peterborough United, told Mail Sport. “It’s just really exciting to get a chance to to play football again.”
Getting used to the rules though, will not be simple. During two halves of 20 minutes, slide tackles are forbidden, as are throw-ins, while games that go to extra time will include a ‘golden goal’ type policy.
“David’s been getting it drilled into us in the last few days of what to do,” added Boyd. “No slide tackles and it’s a very fast pace. Everyone will have [the rules] on lock on the day day or he’ll be a very annoyed manager!”
Wrexham will also face US Women and Say Word FC in their group, needing a top two finish to qualify for the knockout stages. And the media interest in the event has been reflected by dint of the fact all of the tournament’s matches will be available on live stream.
NBC Sports has also agreed to a deal to show 27 matches live. The final will be live on CNBC and another 26 matches will be exclusively on Peacock, while matches not shown on NBC will be broadcasted on The Soccer Tournament’s YouTube channel.