NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former France striker Thierry Henry has been appointed captain of the Major Soccer League’s All-Star team for Wednesday’s clash with AS Roma in Kansas City.
Henry was awarded the captain’s armband by All-Star coach Peter Vermes, following in the footsteps of David Beckham who led the All-Stars against Manchester United two years ago.
Henry made his All-Star debut in that match, which Manchester United won 4-0, but a year later, he helped the All-Stars defeat Chelsea 3-2.
“What was great about last year, when we won against Chelsea, was not that we won against Chelsea. But at the end of the game, the guys we played against came around and they were actually surprised at how we moved the ball around and really played football, or soccer,” Henry told a news conference.
“So that’s one of the most important things that when we play Roma on Wednesday, obviously we want to win. But, if they turn around and say we saw some great players and excellent play, that speaks volumes for the league.”
While this year’s All-Star team features an eclectic mix of foreign internationals, the local-born players are relishing the chances to tackle the Italian club side, just three days after the United States won the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
“You don’t often get the opportunity at the club level against a team like this,” said U.S. midfielder Graham Zusi.
“It’s always fun to put yourself up against some of the best in the world and see where you’re at a bit.”
For Roma, the match is the first of four exhibitions they will play on their North American tour.
Controlled by an American conglomerate, they are the latest in a long line of European teams pushing their brand in the U.S., and the players are unsure what to expect from their opponents.
“It is fascinating for me and especially for my Roma teammates because it is the first time we play against a team like this,” Roma captain Francesco Totti said.
Reporting by Julian Linden in New York; Editing by Gene Cherry