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      Palace Baltimore: Eagles across the pond


      As Crystal Palace return to the United States this summer, to re-join a passionate and ever-expanding group of supporters across the pond, it is worth looking back at a period when seeing the Eagles did not require travelling across the Atlantic.

      Established in 2006, Crystal Palace Baltimore was a trailblazer at the time. Baltimore had a phenomenal sporting history: legendary baseball Hall-of-Famer Babe Ruth and 23-time Olympic Gold Medallist Michael Phelps hail from the ‘Charm City’, while the Orioles and the Ravens regularly compete for titles in the MLB and NFL respectively.

      But football – or ‘soccer’ – was yet to take off. Palace set out to change that. It was a revolutionary idea: a trans-Atlantic partnership, the first of its kind, between an English Football League club and a US-based franchise.

      Not only was it a chance to get Palace’s brand out there, it was also an opportunity to get a first look at emerging talents in the USA – Tim Howard, Brad Friedel and Clint Dempsey were making their impact in the Premier League.


      Initially, Palace Baltimore faced their English counterparts in a friendly, with the players coming from a series of trials held for aspiring young footballers.

      Palace (the original version) won 3-1, with a strong side including Dougie Freedman, Ben Watson and Clinton Morrison featuring – the American side included future-Rangers and USMNT international star Maurice Edu.

      The Baltimore side did widen Palace’s net in the states, and brought them close to a stellar signing: Neven Subotić, who would go on to play for Borussia Dortmund in a Champions League final at Wembley, developing under Jürgen Klopp. His decision to play in Germany came as a blow, but demonstrated the possibilities emerging in the United States.

      Palace Baltimore began to compete professionally, even facing New York Red Bulls in the US Open Cup, winning 2-0 and taking defending champions New England Revolution to a penalty shoot-out in the next round.

      However, their league campaigns were less encouraging, and by 2011 the club announced it would be ending its relationship with Crystal Palace – who were fighting for Championship survival of their own – and ceasing to compete for good.

      Gregg Berhalter
      Gregg Berhalter

      There remains, however, a strong connection between the Eagles and their American supporters. USMNT manager Gregg Berhalter is a former Palace player, while star defender and goalscorer in the CONCACAF Nations League final Chris Richards is a regular starter under Oliver Glasner at Selhurst Park.

      Hit TV show Ted Lasso was filmed at Selhurst Park, while the recent Premier League Mornings Live event in Nashville – hosted by Palace fan and NBC star Rebecca Lowe – saw more supporters clad in red and blue than ever.

      The Eagles will take on Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Ham United in the United States this summer – find out all the key details by clicking HERE.