Celtic to consider US franchise club

Celtic are examining the possibility of a franchise club in the US. Picture: John Devlin

Celtic are examining the possibility of a franchise club in the US. Picture: John Devlin

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CELTIC are to explore the option of setting up a franchise club in the United States of America, according to reports.

The Hoops are said to be keen on an arrangement similar to Manchester City’s acquisition of the franchise for Major League Soccer outfit New York City in 2013.

And Celtic could also push for expansion in Asia as the club looks to grow its global reach.

Preliminary talks have taken place between the Scottish champions and representatives of the North American Soccer League (NASL), according to the BBC.

The NASL, which includes teams from the USA and Canada, including Tampa Bay Rowdies - managed by Scot Stuart Campbell - and New York Cosmos is working on expanding the league from its current 11 teams to 20 clubs by 2018.

Celtic have played a number of pre-season friendlies in the United States, with figures in 2003 numbering the club’s US and Canadian fanbase at around 1 million, spread across 60 supporters clubs.

The Hoops have played a number of friendlies across the pond, including a friendly against Portuguese side Sporting at the Boston Red Sox baseball ground Fenway Park in 2010, in front of 32,000 fans.

The club has also benefited from a number of international players, such as Shunsuke Nakamura, Emilio Izaguirre and Victor Wanyama helping to boost the club as a global brand.

In 2009, marketing firm Sports Revolution estimated that there were seven million Celtic fans in Japan alone.

There are also Celtic supporters clubs in Australia, South Korea, Sweden, Croatia, Germany, Denmark and Norway.

Celtic boss Ronny Deila was unable to shed any light on the suggestions during his post-match press conference after the 5-0 win over Dundee United.

“I don’t know anything about those things. It has to come from other places,” he said. “I think I should keep concentrating on the team and others can talk about that.”

Scots in US soccer

A number of Scots have played football in the US, such as Kris Boyd and Kenny Miller at Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps respectively, while Scotland international and Hull forward Shaun Maloney made 14 appearances for Chicago Fire.

Steven Caldwell, Kenny Deuchar, Richard Gough, Barry Robson, Tam McManus, John Spencer, Mo Johnston and Paul Dalglish all spent time in US soccer between 1996 and 2015.

Adam Moffatt, who played in Scotland for Elgin in the mid-2000s, currently plays as a midfielder for the New York Cosmos while ex-Dundee United midfielder Richie Ryan plies his trade for Ottawa Fury.

Montreal Impact have Torphicen-born Calum Mallace on their books, where he plays alongside the likes of Didier Drogba and former England U21 international Nigel Reo-Coker.

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