Everton are a club which has a rich heritage of having players from the USA and that connection still runs deep.
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During the current coronavirus pandemic the Toffees have been making surprise calls to Everton fans based across the USA to check in on them and see how they’re doing.
Everton’s Mason Holgate called 10-year-old fan Max Hund and his father Chris from Grayslake, Illinois and they were stunned. Max had won a club competition to fly to the UK to watch Everton’s Merseyside derby against Liverpool but that is obviously on hold due to the Premier League suspension.
Max, who is a member of the Chicago Evertonians Supporters’ Club which has raised huge sums of money for several charities, was overwhelmed at getting a call from a current Everton star.
“It was such a cool experience. It was really awesome to talk with an actual Everton player that I am going to meet when I go to England.”
His dad Chris added: “It was wonderful for us to speak to Mason – he was a really nice guy. Max plays as a defender, and he was really excited to speak to an English Premier League player who plays in the same position as him. Although we were upset at not being able to travel to the UK, it was wonderful to be reminded that we, as well as all Everton’s international fans, are part of the Everton Family – even more so in these circumstances. We know that football will return at some point but people’s health and wellbeing is the priority now.”
Center back and England international Michael Keane also called Mike Trakan, Chair of the Chicago Evertonians Supporters’ Club, and wife Vicky. They were due to visit Everton’s historic Goodison Park for the first time in March but got off a plane just before it took off as they heard President Trump had banned travel to Europe, and days later the Premier League season was suspended.
Traken takes in Everton games at AJ Hudson’s bar on North Ashland Avenue in Chicago, and as of right now they were unable to be reimbursed for their plane ticket over to the UK and are dreaming about a future trip to Goodison.
“The call was great – Michael Keane is a truly friendly and good guy. We told him about how the pandemic is affecting Chicago’s communities, and he explained how restrictions have affected everyday life in the UK. It meant a lot to share personal experiences with him about how we and the rest of the Chicago Evertonians are getting by without our weekend football. Michael told us how he has adapted to a new home-based training schedule and we told him we were inspired by his home gym – having spent more quality time than usual on our couch lately!
“Although I have grown up with Chicago sports teams, I feel a really warm a connection with the ‘Everton family’, and we told Michael of our admiration for the work that the Club and its charity Everton in Community does both on and off the pitch. Michael asked me to pass on his well wishes and words of encouragement to the entire Chicago supporters group, which I will do – and we even sneaked in a request for a clean sheet from Keane and the Toffees when we finally get over to Goodison Park after the pandemic passes! The Everton family continues to blow my mind – the call was such a welcome surprise.”
With Landon Donovan, Brian McBride, Joe Max-Moore and of course Tim Howard all former Everton players, the American connection is strong and the current squad is making sure that legacy remains well and truly intact.