A busy month for the Dayton Dutch Lions just got busier.
They had eight games already scheduled in July. On Wednesday, they announced the addition of an international friendly against Wigan Athletic FC, the reigning FA Cup champions, at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday at Wertz Stadium in Piqua.
“We try to find a way we can play our regular season in a normal way and add these great extra events,” said Koen Driessen, business manager for the Dutch Lions. “It’s always a balance. What is the best choice? The guys need to stay fit and get ready for the playoffs. Getting this exhibition, it’s a dream come true for these guys.”
The Lions, who were 7-3-5 going into a game against the Columbus Crew Reserves on Wednesday night at Crew Stadium, host Orlando on Sunday and play in Charleston, S.C., on July 19. However, playing three games in six days was a small price to pay for this opportunity.
Wigan made worldwide soccer news when it upset Manchester City 1-0 on May 11 to win the FA Cup for the first time. The FA Cup is the oldest soccer tournament in the world and is open to pro teams at all levels in England and Wales.
Wigan made history of a different sort May 14 when it lost 4-1 to Arsenal and was relegated from the Premier League after eight seasons to the second tier of English football. It’s the first team to ever be relegated in the year it won the FA Cup.
Wigan is also playing the Columbus Crew of MLS on Saturday and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on July 19 on its visit to the United States in preparation for the 2013 season. The Riverhounds play in the USL Pro league like the Dutch Lions.
Driessen said all of Wigan’s top players will be with the team.
“They need to get ready,” he said. “They take it very seriously. Even the Crew is going to have a hard time playing against them. This is the top level from Europe. You want to keep them as long as possible on 0-0.”
Driessen said it was hard finding an available stadium for the date. Wertz Stadium holds 5,200 fans. Tickets, which are all general admission, cost $18 and can be purchased at DaytonDutchLionsFC.com.
What: Wigan Athletic FC vs. Dayton Dutch Lions
When: 7 p.m., Tuesday
Where: Wertz Stadium, Piqua
Tickets: $18 general admission