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Notre Dame Stadium to host Chelsea-Celtic friendly

Chelsea (pictured) and Borussia Dortmund played a friendly in Chicago's Soldier Field last August.
Chelsea (pictured) and Borussia Dortmund played a friendly in Chicago's Soldier Field last August. (Jon Durr-USA Today Sports)

Notre Dame Stadium will play host to European football once again.

The historic home of Notre Dame football will transform into a soccer venue when the Premier League's Chelsea Football Club and the Scottish Premiership's Celtic Football Club meet in an international friendly on Saturday, July 27.

The two teams will be playing far from home with Chelsea located in London and Celtic in Glasgow, Scotland.

The preseason match, which will be part of separate United States tours for both clubs, was announced Monday with a press conference inside Notre Dame Stadium. Incoming Notre Dame athletic director Pete Bevacqua, who will officially take over for Jack Swarbrick next week spoke before soccer analyst Jamie Watson hosted a Q&A with former Celtic player Roy Aitken and former Chelsea player Roberto Di Matteo.


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Notre Dame Stadium last played host for an international friendly between Liverpool Football Club and Borussia Dortmund in July 2019, which was the first of its kind in Notre Dame Stadium.

“This is what we want to do," Bevacqua said. "So much for us is to bring the presence of our university to these international markets and these international venues. You’ve seen that, and that will continue to be a priority of ours going forward.

"But then to bring this great international event, these two wonderful teams to the South Bend community, I think it’s what we’re meant to do. Hopefully, we can do more of this. I think it’ll be a great success. The Notre Dame community, the South Bend community will turn out in force to support it.

"We’re used to hosting big events at Notre Dame, certainly big events in that stadium. This will be another one in the long history of wonderful events we’ve had at Notre Dame.”

Bevacqua highlighted that in the past year, Notre Dame's football team played in Dublin, its women's basketball team played in Paris and its golf teams played in the inaugural St. Andrews Links Collegiate in Scotland. Now Notre Dame will play host for an international event.

The announced attendance for the 2019 friendly in Notre Dame Stadium, which resulted in a 3-2 win for Liverpool, was 40,361. That's a little more than half of the stadium capacity of 77,522. Bevacqua said Notre Dame is hoping to get 70,000 into the stadium this July.

"Hopefully we can do more than 70,000," Bevacqua said. "But we’ll drum up excitement. Hopefully we’ll have a beautiful day in July. I think we’ll pack the stadium. That’s our intent. That’s our hope and certainly our expectation.”

Tickets will be priced as low as $60 and will be sold through Ticketmaster starting Wednesday, March 27. A 24-hour presale will also be available at



The Notre Dame Stadium match is the third in an United States preseason tour to be announced by Chelsea. It will also play against Wrexham at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on July 24 and against Club America at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on July 31.

Celtic will also play two other friendlies in the U.S., but details for those have yet to be announced. Chelsea and Celtic have played once previously against each other in America: Chelsea won 4-2 in Seattle in 2004.

The two clubs are rich with tradition. Chelsea became the first club to win all four major UEFA club competitions twice (Champions League, Super Cup, Europa League and Cup Winners’ Cup) and has won the Premier League six times. In 1967, Celtic became the first British Club to win a European Cup (now known as Champions League) and has attained a world-record eight domestic trebles by winning three national competitions in the same cycle.

"When you talk about the Chelsea Football Club, the Celtic Football Club, that history of success, that history of championships, nothing less than championships is expected," Bevacqua said. "That’s what we have here at Notre Dame for all of our sports.

"Certainly, every time we go into the stadium and play another school on the football field, we want to win. That’s the Notre Dame way. That’s the expectation. That’s what we expect. And I know that’s what these two great football clubs expect as well."


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