Summer has finally rolled around as people around the country are finally getting time away from the hectic schedules of life and work to focus on relaxation. This time of year, however, is also the time when European teams begin their preseason tours in an effort to be as sharp for the coming season.
One of the more popular destinations for more and more teams is the United States. Whether it is the close proximity to Europe, the money, the fan base, or the high level of competition, more and more teams are heading across the pond to get ready for the season. A handful of teams are staying for just a game or 2 before they move on to another country, while others are spending their entire summer in America.
The big tournament that is taking place this year with international teams is the International Champions Cup. The tournament has been running for some years now and the lineup of teams is always impressive. This year, the tournament will feature big name teams like Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, SL Benfica, Fiorentina, FC Barcelona, and Chelsea. All of these clubs will be playing against each other and other teams from around the US to claim the International Champions Cup.
There are also a handful of Premier League teams that will be playing a couple of friendlies in the US before returning back to England to continue preparations for the new season more locally. Premier League newbies AFC Bournemouth will play 1 game against Philadelphia Union before heading back, while Newcastle United will be playing 3 games including 1 against the Portland Timbers. The rest of the teams include Sunderland, which will be playing 2 games in the US, Tottenham Hotspur, which will be playing 1 game, and West Bromwich Albion, which will be playing 4 games.
The US is increasingly becoming a place where European clubs want to come because of our growing passion for the game. We have the money, the infrastructure, the passion, and the fans to support these teams in their efforts to perform at their maximum once the European seasons start. Hopefully this increase in European clubs in America can inspire other teams to reach into an untapped American market and inspire others to get involved in the game. Needless to say, this business bodes well for the future of soccer in the US.