In the Box

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With the announcement of Everton as a participant in the Copa de Tejas this past Tuesday my mind began racing with the thoughts of the history and tradition that this club carries.

Tradition that runs deeper than the English Channel.

Everton remarkably played their first game back in 1879 against St. Peters a 6-0 win.

Famed Goodison Park where they play their home games was opened in 1892.

They were one of the original founding members of the English League that was formed in 1888.

Last season was Everton's 125th season in existence. During this time of existence Everton only played outside the top division for four years. A fact that is amazing considering the relegation system that is in place in England.

Need I go on?

Generations of fans have passed on their love of this English Club to their children and it is this refusal to let history die that makes clubs like Everton and the English Premier League so appealing to me.

Having played against English clubs like Sheffield United and Middlesbrough in the U.S. during the mid-80s, I had a strong sense of the historic culture of these clubs.

But it all came full circle for me during an off-season when I was sent to Sheffield, England to train with Sheffield United.

Staying at the home of flamboyant goalkeeper John "Budgie" Burridge I was engulfed with the English culture and the history and importance of the club.

At their stadium history was plastered all over the walls of the social area of the club where former players were honored in picture and print.

With the English Premier League seen weekly during the season here in the United States it is easy to see why the league is considered the best in the world.

Supremely skilled players, forward thinking tactics, passionate fans, and the best organized soccer league in the world is a huge part of the appeal.

But there is one thing that we must not forget that is of utmost importance.

English clubs do a wonderful job of remembering and honoring their history of players and creating a "club culture."

In the case of Everton so many player names stick out.

First, you have to start with the legendary Dixie Dean who was arguably the greatest goalscorer in the history of the English game and once scored 60 league goals in a single season .

The names of great players from Everton's past continues on endlessly with Graeme Sharp, Trevor Steven, Gary Lineker, Alan Ball, Peter Reid, Ray Wilson and Kevin Sheedy to name a few.

Those names from the past were the platform for the names that now don the Everton jersey.

Names like youthful English treasure Wayne Rooney who is a full England international at eighteen, to players that have performed in World Cup 2002 like Joseoph Yobo (Nigeria), Kevin Kilbane (Republic of Ireland), Thomas Graveson (Denmark) and Li Tie of China.

On July 29 and August 1 at Reliant Stadium we have a unique opportunity in Houston as a soccer community to get up close and personal with the history and tradition that is Everton F.C. when they take on historic Mexican Clubs America and Pachuca.

See you there!

Davis is a nationally recognized broadcaster for HDNET where he partners up with former U.S. National Team defender Marcelo Balboa. He was one of the lead voices for ESPN during the 2002 World Cup and has called major international soccer matches for the Fox Network as well.  He is a weekly columnist for the Houston Chronicle and hosts the "Soccer Hour with Glenn Davis" radio show on 90.1KPFT FM Radio every Sunday from 5-6 pm.  Davis played soccer professionally for the Houston Dynamos where he was a league all star selection and team captain.

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