Earlier this year, Canada’s own Ryan Reynolds bought a professional soccer team in Wales along with Rob McElhenney, known best as creator and star of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The team, Wrexham AFC, is now owned by two Hollywood stars, but as it turns out, Reynolds isn’t the only Canadian talent that is involved.
Charlie Trafford, who was born and raised in Calgary and played collegiate soccer at York University, recently signed with Wrexham AFC after spending the better part of the last decade in various pro leagues around Europe.
Now, he’s getting a chance to be a part of a wildly memorable season; since Reynolds and McElhenney have tasked FX to create a documentary series about the team, the town, and the journey to (maybe one day) the English Premier League (EPL).
He plans to return to Calgary eventually, but first, the Wrexham adventure awaits.
“[Wrexham] is already a club with so much history,” Trafford told Curiocity earlier this week from his flat in Wrexham. “There is a massive fan base, a really nice stadium and it has that infrastructure that could make it a Premier League side.”
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That’s part of the reason why Reynolds and McElhenny purchased the club, with a £2m ($3.37m CAD) investment for 100% control that was finalized this spring. Although a jump to the EPL may seem like a long shot, the pair have set Wrexham’s sights on the English Football League Championship, second in prestige only to the EPL.
But to get there, they’ve got to invest. Whether it is in players, facilities, or the town itself, Trafford has already seen their commitment first-hand. “They’re trying to build a rocketship,” he says. “The aspirations they have and the money they’re putting up is so cool to see.”
At the end of October, the new owners paid a visit to Wrexham to meet the players and film for the upcoming documentary series (release date TBA). Trafford, who says he doesn’t typically get starstruck, said meeting Reynolds and McElhenney was “something surreal.”
“I had a good talk with Ryan [Reynolds] for about fifteen minutes,” says Trafford, on the first day the owners met the team. Despite Trafford saying that both he and McElhenney are really just “normal people,” he did get a classic Ryan Reynolds moment that seemed straight from the silver screen.
In the middle of training, the documentary crew set up a couple of penalty kicks for the owners to try out. “Ryan walked right past me and I hadn’t met him yet,” says Trafford. “He genuinely looked nervous and here I am thinking, ‘You are a global superstar worried about kicking a ball that isn’t even moving.'”
So, Trafford, being a good Canadian lad, decided to give the Deadpool star a little extra motivation.
“Please don’t let Canada down,” he said, as Reynolds walked up to attempt his penalty kick. “[Reynolds] just turns and goes, ‘Thank God I wore my adult diaper today,'” right before shanking two kicks in a row wide of the goal. Sounds about right.
While we’ll be cheering Trafford and Wrexham AFC on their transformation from afar, we certainly hope that Ryan Reynolds never changes.