Bundesliga 2 side St. Pauli have announced that they will tour the USA this summer, becoming the first-ever second division club from Germany to go stateside.
The Hamburg-based outfit, currently 10th in the second tier, will be in the US from 15-24 May and have lined up friendlies against National Premier League Soccer side Detroit City FC (19 May) and The Portland Timbers reserve team (22 May).
#FCSPgoesUSA! 🇺🇸 With the support of the German Football League (DFL) and partners Match IQ, FC St. Pauli will become the first German second division club to tour the United States post-season. #fcsp 1/2 pic.twitter.com/pLrPYPseDA— FC St. Pauli English (@fcstpauli_EN) March 7, 2018
"Alongside the matches, we can take initial discussions from recent years between two different footballing worlds further, as well as bring with us and take away with us many new concepts," president Oke Göttlich said in a statement on the club's website. "We're looking forward to meeting our partners [...] and our very active community of fans in Detroit and Portland."
The only caveat is that if St. Pauli become involved in either the promotion or relegation play-offs at the end of the season, the tour would not go ahead so as not to clash with those fixtures.
St. Pauli have spent a total of eight seasons in the Bundesliga, the most recent of which was in 2010/11, when they were relegated in 18th place. They already have an online store catering to US-based supporters, and also have several St. Pauli fan clubs in North America, including in New York and Toronto.
St. Pauli have gained a sizeable cult following in recent years, despite the team's lack of on-field success, due to the club establishing rights of tolerance, respect and equality in their guiding principles. "FC St. Pauli conveys a way of life and is a symbol of sporting authenticity," reads a statement on their official website. "This allows people to identify with the club independently of any success it may achieve on the pitch. Salient features of this identification opportunity are to be nurtured and protected."