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Wrexham AFC Fandom Building Community In American Neighborhoods

Photo Courtesy Wrexham AFC

It was just after we wrapped up our series covering the history of Wrexham AFC, the Welsh club now playing in the fourth division of English professional football, that we received the email. The club, owned by actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, is capturing Americans’ hearts and minds nationwide. Data is showing that people can’t get enough of this club. But why?

A study shared with The Business Download, courtesy of, found that Colorado, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Maine were the five states with the highest rate of internet searches regarding Wrexham. 

The company explained its methodology in a press release shared with us. It identified the top five keywords related to Wrexham by search volume and then analyzed data from 2023. All research was conducted with Google Trends

The obsession with Wrexham is largely attributed to the Disney+ docu-series “Welcome to Wrexham,” which chronicles the club’s journey from semi-professional football to professional.

When Reynolds and McElhenney bought the club in February 2021, they made it clear their goal was to connect with Wrexham fans and help the club get back into the upper echelon of English football. 

They are now on their way. Last year, the team earned promotion to English Football League (EFL) Two, the fourth tier of English football, three divisions below the Premier League.  

The two have certainly brought a more global presence than local fans imagined possible. Some stats include increasing the club’s social media audience by more than 192,000 fans in just one year of club ownership. Season ticket sales boomed. Reynolds and McElhenney are not shy about spending to win, either. 

Some fans are even trekking from the States to Wales for matchdays. Colorado resident Sheri Hofling went to a game after binge-watching “Welcome to Wrexham.” She became a fan instantly. 

Photo Courtesy Wrexham AFC

She explained to The Leader how she was enthralled by the fan connection and was intrigued about the consequences of promotion-relegation. She hasn’t missed a match since and journeyed to the United Kingdom in August 2023. She said the Wrexham fans were “unbelievably welcoming and kind.” 

Wrexham’s fandom in America is part of a trend of soccer interest in the United States. This type of community is forging new relationships with people. Bonding over sports is not new, but it’s interesting how a lower-tier club in Wales affects people. 

Christopher Harris of World Soccer Talk wrote a blog post about how he and his made the trip from America to North Wales. The docu-series has people who never cared about soccer becoming casual fans of the club, tuning into matches every so often. Casual fandom can turn into a romance with a team. Just look at how many people travel to Wales for a live game. 

Fans are connecting online to organize meet-ups to watch games, discuss tactics and players, and share other forms of content.

It’s unclear if this Wrexham appreciation has inspired more people to join local soccer teams or start learning the sport, but the greater appreciation of the sport the U.S. has shouldn’t be disregarded. 

The Business Download wrote to the Wrexham fan Reddit forum to see if they engaged in soccer activities since becoming fans. Some expressed interest in starting the sport, but finding the right local league is the biggest challenge. Some were former college athletes looking for a new pastime, while others were sports fans fascinated by how the soccer pyramid works in England. One commenter wondered if that system should make its way into North American sports to stop teams from tanking seasons. 

“I’ve definitely become interested in playing soccer but haven’t started … I’ve looked at local leagues in my area and talked to some friends who play about starting points,” one fan wrote. 

Amos Barshad at The New York Times opined that the connection between American fans is based on demographics. Those in Rust Belt or postindustrial towns can empathize with the citizens of Wrexham. He also wondered if the ownership’s intentions are still the same now that the club has become a pop-culture icon. 

Photo Courtesy Wrexham AFC

Wrexham came to the U.S. last summer for a preseason tour. The team took on MLS sides LA Galaxy and Philadelphia Union in addition to Premier League teams Manchester United and Chelsea in friendlies.

Some club legends participated in The Soccer Tournament, a 7-v-7 prize money tournament hosted in the States.

The club even matched up against former U.S. Women’s National Team players. Unfortunately, the U.S. ladies were beaten 12–0 by the Wrexham team.

The Wrexham craze will likely continue as the club was promoted to League One at the end of the 2023–24 season. The club came in second in the EFL League Two, which guaranteed promotion to EFL League One. Double promotion in consecutive years would do wonders for the fanbase in the U.S.

“Every day, Wrexham fans wake up and pinch themselves because we’ve had a real rough ride in the past two or three decades, so to be where we are now is incredible,” Wayne Jones, Wrexham local and owner of The Turf pub next to the club stadium, told Reuters.


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