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Norwich City enjoys St. Pete fans and Florida weather

During their league’s international break, Norwich City visited St. Petersburg to train in the warm weather at Al Lang Stadium. The team not only allowed the public to attend one of their practices, but they also planned a meet and greet with their fans afterward.

Forward Jordan Rhodes (center) dribbles the ball during a drill. Photo courtesy of Cristian Saldivar.

Forward Jordan Rhodes (center) dribbles the ball during a drill. Photo courtesy of Cristian Saldivar.

Norwich City is currently in the first position of the table in the Championship League, England’s second division for professional soccer.

During a Florida autumn afternoon Nov. 15, the Canaries players held an intense practice and enjoyed the company of their fans. Even when it began to rain, Tampa Bay Rowdies supporters and Canaries fans alike stayed to watch the team train.

This marks the first time the English team has held training sessions in Florida.

“Visit Tampa Bay is the team’s official travel sponsor,”said Kevin Wiatrowski, media relations manager at Visit Tampa Bay. “And we worked with them for most of this year to put together a trip to Tampa Bay for warm weather training during the Championship League’s international break.”

The training session not only served as a new experience for the players but also an exciting moment for fans.

“The trip has been the culmination of months of hard work on both sides of the Atlantic and has succeeded in every way imaginable,” Wiatrowski said.

“Norwich is our team from England,” fan Lee Wetteland said. “I saw that they were having this training and decided to make the trip.” Wetteland made the drive from Orlando with his son Riley.

After the event, Norwich City’s chief commercial director, Ben Kensell, talked about how much they enjoyed their time in St. Petersburg and the support of fans.

“For us, it’s the perfect kind combination of merging professional sports, the football team, with the commercial and sponsorships,” Kensell said. “We want to come out here again. This is a strategic partnership for us. We want to come out here more and more often during our international breaks. So we’ll be here out again. We have a good partnership with the Rowdies, we have a good partnership with the Bucs, with the Lightning, and also the Rays. So for us, it really works.”

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