Chelsea FC takes the day off to tour Jerusalem

During this stroll, the Chelsea Women experienced the cultural history firsthand, taking time to stop and speak to many locals to get a feel for their day-to-day lives.

August 21, 2019 17:33
4 minute read.
Chelsea FC takes the day off to tour Jerusalem

Chelsea Women Football Club visits Jerusalem. (photo credit: SHAHAR AZRAN/CHELSEA FC)

Before their friendly match with the women of the Israel Football Association, the Chelsea Women's Football Club took the day-off from preseason training Monday to take a guided tour through the Old City of Jerusalem - giving the women a well-earned chance to see the ancient sites for themselves.

The walking tour of the Holy City began at the historic Jaffa Gate, where the Chelsea Women then made their way to the Christian Quarter of the city in the direction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, containing two of the holiest sites in Christianity - the site where it is believed Jesus was crucified, as well as the site where Jesus was buried and later resurrected, according to biblical accounts.

From the Holy Church, the women made their way to the Jewish Quarter to visit the Western Wall. All those who have walked the path to the last remaining wall of the historic Second Temple from the Jaffa Gate know of breathtaking narrow corridors and alleys filled with colorful markets displaying all different types of jewelry, religious fixtures, judaica, spices, clothing and cultural reminders everywhere you look of the city's deep connected history.

During this stroll, the Chelsea Women experienced the cultural history firsthand, taking time to stop and speak to many locals to get a feel for their day-to-day lives.

At the Western Wall, the team was greeted by the Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich, who held a reception for the arriving women where they all listened to a guest speaker who explained the significance of the Kotel to the team - after which the team prepared personal notes and then placed their notes in the cracks of the historic wall, as millions of pilgrims, many coming from far and wide, do and continue to, year after year, as the tradition holds.

"It was a wonderful day, for all the staff and players. The fact we get to spend time in Israel with Roman, who has brought us out here, once again shows his commitment and dedication to the women’s game," said Chelsea FC Manager Emma Hayes. "It is a week of promoting women’s football using Chelsea as an example of what you can achieve with investment and support and a continuation of the important 'Say No To Antisemitism' campaign.

“We had a really moving experience [today], which finished up with us writing private notes that we then placed in the Western Wall, as is the tradition. They were reminders of all the things we need in life, not want, and all the things that matter."

Chelsea FC Chairman Bruce Buck and Abramovich have showed continuing support in growing women's sport worldwide in addition to quelling out antisemitism - so much so that they organized a number of programs throughout Israel this week focusing on this goal.

With regards to the Chelsea 'Say No To Antisemitism' campaign, the women have been heavily involved with much of the successes that have come out of the campaign - with such efforts as holding joint training sessions between Palestinian and Israeli girls to bolster coexistence, meeting with Holocaust survivor Susan Pollack as well as taking part in Holocaust Remembrance Day through the "#WeRemember" campaign.

"Our commitment to women’s football is driven by our owner, Mr. Roman Abramovich, who is passionate about supporting the team and promoting the sport," said Buck. "We hope that our visit to Israel will not only be a special moment for our Israeli fans and our players, but also help to grow the game in the country."

Hayes concluded speaking about the significance the trip had on the team, Chelsea's fans, aspiring soccer stars and many others worldwide - given Israel's significance, beauty and at times adherence to ongoing struggle.

"The fact we got to spend the time in Israel with Roman, rather than just on the training pitch, not only shows his commitment to women’s football, but it also showcases the women’s game, and the massive impact of the visit not just for the young people here and for the players too," Hayes said.

“So it’s hugely significant. Going to Jerusalem meant an awful lot to a lot of people. We sat around at dinner talking about how important it is understanding the history of this region, seeing the value of human life, the love of working for a football club that promotes such wonderful values and supports its women’s football team in the way we have.

“And it was all-round such a brilliant self-reflective day, and one to have time with our owner that we all thoroughly enjoyed. This experience has been immensely spiritual for everyone. It’s brought us close together and reinforced the value of life and taking care of each other," she concluded.

Related Content

Lecrae performing at the Phoenix Concert Theatre on December 3, 2017.
September 21, 2019
U.S. Christian hip hop artist Lecrae baptized in Jordan River