By CIA Member Aaron Lau
September 13th, 2014 is a day I will never forget. Chelsea played Swansea at the Bridge, and Diego Costa notched his first hat-trick while Loic Remy got a debut goal. We conceded two, but at the end I, along with Chelsea fans everywhere, did not care, it was still three points, and I saw it all happen live. It was, without a doubt, the best thing I have experienced so far. I remember standing in the Upper West Stand just having a laugh at how lucky I was just to be there, and how lucky I was to have Chelsea In America.
I first came across Chelsea In America and Beth Wild through a mutual friend that my parents had. It was my first year going to university, so you could imagine that dealing with getting tickets and the entire institution that is Chelsea Football Club was that last thing on my mind. However, Beth walked me through the entire process from buying tickets to loyalty points to other miscellaneous questions I had. Once I had practice with the procedures of getting tickets, picking them up from the correct window, while also keeping in mind the amount of loyalty points I had it no longer became a hassle. Instead there would be days where I would wait for the next ticket listing to come up. However being a part of Chelsea In America does not mean just going to games.
Being a freshman in university meant that I did not know anyone I would meet there, and on top of that I was studying abroad in a city where I had no experience living in. Beth put me in contact with dozens of Chelsea fans around the city that she knew and those people put me in contact with other people. These people that Beth put me in touch with were prominent members of the Chelsea FC community. One was Chidge, who runs the Chelsea Fancast in the city, and you ask nicely you will get to take part in a session. The Fancast is not just your average podcast, during my session there were multiple sports writers from various different local and citywide newspapers such as getwestlondon. Someone else that Beth introduced me to was Mark Worrall, an ESPN contributor, who has also written several fantastic books about the history of the club, and at the end of my year in London helped me massively on my final paper. However it is not just fans you will get to meet. I also got to meet some of the Chelsea legends of yesteryear like Ron Harris, Peter Bonetti, and Bobby Tambling, all of whom you will get to have a casual conversation with. These people formed a network of people While Beth personally puts you in contact with people around the city (as she did for me), you also get to meet other people in Chelsea In America too. Throughout the year I met people from all over the US, who came to London for various reasons, but we were all united through our love of the football club. All of the people that I met in my time abroad were exceptionally nice and extremely welcoming of me. I never hesitated to ask them questions and they were patient with me when I did.
Over my year abroad I went to as many Chelsea games as I possibly could. I was there for the low of PSG at home to the absolute high of Crystal Palace when we won the league. Joining Chelsea In America was the best thing I did all year and it gave me the opportunity to meet new people and see London through some beautiful blue tinted glasses. Meeting the people I did is a credit to how well Beth knows these people and how well these people know Beth. When you join the Chelsea In America family this is what you get, a network of people around the world to meet and talk to. Even if you are not studying abroad or going to London, joining Chelsea In America will be a decision you will not regret.