Soccer players never get tired of playing the game.

That’s what this page is all about.

Where your FIRST TOUCH SOCCER book ends, the FREE KICK page begins.

It’s a chance for you to learn more about Chelsea … and for me to talk about some of the great stories I couldn’t squeeze into the book.

Scroll down to get the latest news … and to learn more about English soccer. And check out some of the cool collectibles I have in my home.

Enjoy this site, check back whenever you like, and contact me with any questions or comments.

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Breaking News

John Terry
(© Panini)

What’s up with Chelsea F.C.

November 11, 2022: Goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga earned Premier League “Save of the Month” honors for his three rapid-fire saves in a win over Aston Villa.

October 11, 2022: Chelsea shut out AC Milan for the second time in a week to advance in Champions League play. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored in each match: one played in England and the second in Italy.

July 30, 2022: Chelsea completed a deal with the MLS Chicago Fire for goalkeeper Gaga Slonina. The club paid $10 million for the teenaged superstar, who became the youngest keeper in league history last season at 17.

March 02, 2022: Team owner Roman Abramovich, a Russian billionaire, announced he planned to sell Chelsea and donate the money to victims of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

February 27, 2022: Chelsea played Liverpool in the final of the English Football League (EFL) Cup. Chelsea scored twice in extra time but both goals were disallowed after offside calls. The match was decided on penalty kicks, with Liverpool winning, 11–10.

November 20, 2021: American star Christian Pulisic scored the final goal in a 3–0 win over Tottenham Hotspur. The victory vaulted Chelsea into first place in the Premier League after 12 games.

October 23, 2021: 22-year-old midfielder Mason Mount scored his first hat trick in a 7–0 wipeout of Norwich City.

August 11, 2021: Chelsea defeated Spanish powerhouse Villarreal FC on penalty kicks to win the UEFA Super Cup after the two teams tied 1–1 in overtime. Hakim Zyech scored Chelsea’s lone goal, while Kepa Arrizabalaga came off the bench to make the match-winning save.

May 29, 2021: Chelsea defeated Manchester City in the Champions League final, 1–0. Kai Havertz scored the game’s only goal. The victory marks Chelsea’s second Champions League title, and Christian Pulisic became the first American to play for a Champions Cup winner.

May 15, 2021: Chelsea reached the FA Cup final but lost 1–0 to Leicester City.

April 17, 2021: Chelsea defeated Manchester City to earn a spot in the FA Cup finals against Leicester City. Hakim Ziyech scored the game’s only goal.

March 2, 2021: A 2–0 win over Sheffield United boosted Chelsea into the semifinals of the FA Cup. Hakim Ziyech and Oliver Norwood scored the club’s two goals.

January 26, 2021: Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard as Chelsea coach after the team started the season poorly. Lampard was a Chelsea legend as a player, scoring 147 goals for the club between 2001 and 2014.

August 1, 2020: Chelsea made it all the way to the FA Cup final but could not hold a 1–0 lead against Arsenal and lost, 2–1. Striker Tammy Abraham was the club’s top scorer during the year, with 15 goals in Premier League matches and 18 overall. American star Christian Pulisic was one of the league’s top playmakers.

September 14, 2019: Tammy Abraham scored a hat trick against Wolverhampton. He also put one in his own net by mistake in a 5–2 victory.

May 29, 2019: Chelsea defeated Arsenal 4–1 in the Europa League final. The club won the tournament without losing a single match.

September 29, 2018: Eden Hazard scored Chelsea’s only goal in a 1–1 tie with Liverpool. It was his 7th goals in 8 games.

May 19, 2018: Chelsea defeated Manchester United 1–0 in the FA Cup final. Eden Hazard scored the only goal of the game on a penalty kick after being fouled in the penalty area. Defender Antonio Rudiger was named Man of the Match.

April 22, 2018: Chelsea defeated Southampton 2–0 to qualify for the FA Cup final against Manchester United. Strikers Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud scored for Chelsea.

January 20, 2018: Eden Hazard scored his 100th goal in Premier League play.

May 21, 2017: John Terry played his 717th and final game for Chelsea. He left the field in minute 26—the same number he wore for the club for more than 20 years.

May 12, 2017: Chelsea defeated West Bromwich Albion F.C., 1–0 in the 36th match of the season. The victory guaranteed the club its fifth Premier League title, and sixth English championship overall.

Premier League & FA Cup

FA Cup
(Photo by Carlos Yo)

  • Chelsea plays in England’s Premier League. The Premier League has 20 clubs. Each club plays 38 matches—one home and one away against each of the other 19 clubs. At the end of each season, the team with the best record is crowned champion. The teams with the worst record are moved down (or “relegated”) to the English Football League Championship, the second-highest level of play. These teams are replaced by the top-finishing clubs in the English Football League Championship, which are promoted to the Premier League.

  • Every team in England is invited to enter the Football Association Challenge Cup, or FA Cup. It is soccer’s oldest tournament. The FA Cup was first played during the 1871–72 season. The tournament is held all season long. The final is played in Wembley Stadium.

Collector’s Corner

Roy Bentley
(© World Sports Magazine)

Bobby Tambling
(© Football Monthly)

Frank Lampard
(© Rafo d.o.o.)

More treasures from the author’s collection!

  • Roy Bentley — Forward
    Roy Bentley was club captain in the 1950s. In 1955, he led Chelsea to its first first-place finish. Bentley was one of the sport’s top center-forwards. He scored more than 100 goals for Chelsea.

  • Bobby Tambling — Forward
    Bobby Tambling was Chelsea’s all-time scoring champ for 47 years, with 202 goals. His record was broken by Frank Lampard in 2013. Tambling scored the club’s only goal in the 1967 FA Cup final, which Chelsea lost, 2–1.

  • Peter Bonetti— Goalkeeper
    1960–1975 & 1976–1979
    Peter Bonetti played in 729 matches for Chelsea. He was the team’s Player of the Year in 1967 and starred in goal during the 1970 FA Cup and 1971 Cup Winners’ Cup. Fans called him “The Cat” because of his quick reflexes.

  • Ron Harris — Defender
    No one played more games for Chelsea than Ron Harris. He was the star of the club’s defense and was known as one of the roughest players in soccer. Fans nicknamed Harris “Chopper.”

  • Gianfranco Zola— Forward
    During the 1990s, many international stars joined English soccer clubs. Chelsea fans fell in love with Gianfranco Zola. He was the team’s Player of the Year in 1999 and 2003. Zola was a talented scorer and smooth all-around player. Zola scored many amazing goals on the way to Chelsea’s FA Cup victory in 1997.

  • Marcel Desailly — Defender
    French star Marcel Desailly helped Chelsea win the FA Cup in 2000. He was the heart of the club’s defense and also set a fine example for young John Terry, who went on to be one of the all-time greats.

  • Frank Lampard— Midfielder
    Frank Lampard scored 211 goals for Chelsea as a midfielder. He is the only player in the history of the Premier League to score more than 150 goals from that position. Lampard played 106 matches as a member of England’s national team, including three World Cups.

Fun Facts

Tore Andre Flo
(© Panini)

Did You Know?

• In 1928, Chelsea was one of the first two clubs to wear uniform numbers. Arsenal was the other.

• In 1971, Chelsea played Jeunesse Hautcharage F.C. in the Cup Winners’ Cup tournament. Hautcharage was Luxembourg’s unexpected “Cinderella” league champion. But the glass slipper didn’t fit. Chelsea won 13—0 and 8–0. The two-game total score of 21–0 is the most lopsided in the history of European soccer.

• In 1997, Chelsea played a match against Tromso I.L. in Norway. The field was located 100 miles above the Arctic Circle. A blizzard made the game almost impossible to play, and Chelsea lost 3–2.

• In 1999, Chelsea became the first English soccer club to field a starting lineup of 11 players who were born outside the country. Tore Andre Flo scored twice in a 2–1 victory over Southampton F.C.

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