LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Just months after partnering with Chelsea FC as its official soccer club, Disney's Wide World of Sports continues to develop relationships with football clubs from the English Premier League as the Blackburn Rovers FC opened a three-day training session at the Disney sports complex, located at the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla. on Feb. 15 and will continue on Feb. 18 and 19.
"The last few years we have traveled to other places where the weather was a bit cooler, but we wanted the opportunity to get a change of scenery in a warm weather environment," said coach Mark Hughes. "With the great weather and the fantastic facilities here at Disney's Wide World of Sports, we are able to get away, recuperate and refresh ourselves to prepare for one more big effort to achieve European qualifications."
Former U.S. national team goalkeeper Brad Friedel welcomed the break, with Blackburn having a free weekend following its surprise elimination in the third round of the FA Cup.
"We have 12 games left to get ourselves in at least a top-six position and are very close to that goal right now," said Friedel. "Hopefully training here will give us the rejuvenation we need to finish the season strong as we are normally an exceptional second half team."
Rover fans like Eric Dewberry, who traveled the nearly 450 miles and seven-hour drive from Atlanta, Ga. to Disney's Wide World of Sports, came out to catch a glimpse of their favorite football club.
"Once I heard that Blackburn was coming to Disney to train, I knew this was a great opportunity for me to come and watch my favorite English club up close," said Dewberry. "Once I told my wife about this opportunity, she knew there was no stopping me. Hopefully more teams will do this as it is great exposure for them here in the United States."
To find out more information about events taking place at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex, go to www.disneysports.com.