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Let’s all go on a U.S. Tour… English clubs set to invade, again, this summer

Jun 27, 2013, 10:43 AM EDT

Chelsea Manchester City Soccer

Soccer fans in North America either love or hate this time of year. Major League Soccer is in full swing and the US national team are often qualifying or competing for something.

But then around July, all hell breaks lose as a plethora of teams from England and Europe descend on the US to play friendly tournaments galore. MLS teams suddenly see all their free time clogged up by scrimmages in packed out stadiums, as ‘friendlies’ all of a sudden become more important than league games.

In some cases anyway. (Ahem, Seattle against Chelsea and Manchester United…)

And this summer will be no different, with six English teams touring the US starting at various dates and locations. The EPL outfits will be using the beautiful summer climate and top notch facilities as their preseason base, away from the hustle and bustle of Great Britain’s blustery soccer-obsessed shores.

These are the English sides currently penciled in to tour the US: Chelsea, Everton, Stoke City, Wigan Athletic, Manchester City and Norwich City. And maybe there will be more with hastily arranged preseason plans. Who knows. But come on over.

Wow. Simply put, there are plenty of chances to see some of England’s finest teams this summer. And don’t forget Chelsea and Manchester City have already played two games in the US, the week after the EPL season finished in May. They love a jaunt over the Atlantic. And other top teams from Europe will be joining the English invasion of North America, as the Guinness International Champions Cup takes place.

So will this trend continue to get bigger over the coming years? Some teams may start to mix it up but many have argued that North America provides so many pluses for preseason preparation that it is hard to turn down.

(MORE: Norwich city become fourth EPL side to announce U.S. tour)

Stoke City have plenty of links in America and the deals for Brek Shea and Geoff Cameron both included stipulations that Stoke must play a preseason friendly against FC Dallas and the Houston Dynamo. Proving just how lucrative these games are to MLS franchises.

But do the friendlies harm MLS teams who don’t rest enough during the strain of playing multiple games a week, in the heat of summer?

Of course squad players are rotated around. But after Seattle were hammered 7-0 by Manchester United a few years back in a ‘friendly’ they aimed to put on more of an effort when Chelsea rolled into town. They lost 4-2 but gave the English giants a run for their money.

(MORE: Real Madrid, Chelsea, AC Milan, Everton and more heading to U.S. this summer)

The argument of should MLS teams value these friendlies more, always pops up. As many believe beating EPL opposition sends out a message to the rest of the world that Major League Soccer is improving.

But I say, ‘So what?’ It is only a friendly and the English sides are only in preseason. The result doesn’t matter. But the fact that English sides keep coming back definitely helps soccer continue to rise in the US.

So form an orderly queue, or come over on tour all at once. Either way, a summer full of MLS, Gold Cup and EPL friendlies suits me, and US soccer, down to the ground.

  1. charliej11 - Jun 27, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    Nooooooooooo, pleeease stop.

    ( I love that Man U is still blackballed from MLS )

    ps. the English teams coming here helps soccer to rise in the US….hell no. It is a necessary money grabbing evil, that is all.

    • chunkala - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:44 PM

      Man U is blackballed because of the 7-0 romp?

      • charliej11 - Jun 28, 2013 at 10:33 PM

        Sort of…blackballed for playing starters in the 2nd half, when they agreed before to play the scrubs.

        Prompting the Sounders to be more than a little peaved when the score went from 1-0 to 7-0 in the second half. I don’t know or care who the Man U starters are..and I was barely watching, so anyone about to post the weren’t the starters…I don’t care, I remember Rooney entering the game, I know the Sounders were fuming and I know Man U will never play in the US again.

      • chunkala - Jun 29, 2013 at 3:05 PM

        Interesting. Thanks.

  2. mdac1012 - Jun 27, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    It certainly helps the EPL teams, the MLS teams not so much, except of course in the wallet. The season is already being “interrupted” so to speak because of the players getting pulled off rosters for WC qualifiers and the Gold Cup. Now you have to interrupt your season to play exhibition matches against teams from Europe. I don’t see why the EPL teams can’t come here and play each other, or go to another European country and play other teams who are also in pre-season.

    I also don’t think it makes MLS look good, since they are willing to interrupt their season and inconvenience their teams just to serve as a warm up for the European teams. Makes MLS look like a minor league.

  3. dfstell - Jun 27, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    It’s just further evidence of how semi-serious the MLS regular season is. If you play through international dates and play friendlies in mid-season, it just shows that the playoffs are all that really matter.

    I DO think it is good for MLS to play these teams. Nothing is gained from hiding from better opposition. Go out there, get your head caved in 7-0 by a team in pre-season and look in the mirror and say you can’t do better. MLS is at its worst when it lives in it’s own little salary-capped vacuum.

    • charliej11 - Jun 27, 2013 at 1:53 PM

      Semi serious ? Give it a rest dude.

    • charliej11 - Jun 27, 2013 at 1:54 PM

      I didn’t even make it to you second paragraph, which was even more laughable.

  4. dws110 - Jun 27, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    Sorry, you can’t say “Seattle were hammered 7-0 by Manchester United” and then turn right around and say that the results don’t matter.

  5. midtec2005 - Jun 27, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    I simply won’t go watch them… whats the point?

  6. awad2251 - Jun 27, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    I don’t have time to fly to England to watch my favorite EPL teams play, so if one wants to play in my backyard I’m gonna try to be there. Why so much anger of this? I like MLS and EPL. Even if they’re friendlies, they’re still fun to watch.

    • charliej11 - Jun 27, 2013 at 2:00 PM

      The anger stems from having a real season interrupted for nothing. Most of us do not care at all about some team from England, now we interrupt an extremely competitive MLS season for it.
      Why ?

      Money of course, but that just makes it worse, because if the tools that watch English soccer over US soccer didn’t…MLS wouldn’t need the money as much.

      I was opting out of the Chelsea/ManU etc games, but I am still VERY glad they are done doing that crap.

      • charliej11 - Jun 27, 2013 at 2:01 PM

        Glad the Sounders are done…the rest of the league has to play those stupid games still.

  7. markburst - Jun 27, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    I like the idea of European teams coming stateside for some friendly matches but why do they have to play MLS teams? An MLS team can host a match, or perhaps have an international match piggy-back as a double header for a league match. I would love to see a friendly between Chelsea and Real Madrid preceded by the California Classico this weekend. I dont think I could handle watching MLS after a Euro friendly so the MLS match would have to be played first. That would be awesome. Watching my MLS team get pummeled by Wigan, not so much…

    • charliej11 - Jun 27, 2013 at 2:00 PM

      What MLS team got pummeled by Wigan again ?

    • midtec2005 - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:18 PM

      Yeah, MLS should be the warmup band for a show in their own stadium… NO. I like the idea of having a double header, but the MLS game should definitely be second. MLS is often more exciting anyway, depending on the team.

      • midtec2005 - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:19 PM

        I don’t know how this double post happened, can you guys fix it?

    • midtec2005 - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:18 PM

      Yeah, MLS should be the warmup band for a show in their own stadium… NO. I like the idea of having a double header, but the MLS game should definitely be second. MLS is often more exciting anyway, depending on the teams.

  8. lunasceiling - Jun 27, 2013 at 8:43 PM

    These friendlies have given me the chance to watch teams like ManCity and Valencia in person, something unlikely otherwise. This year, I’m going to get to see Norwich City. I love these friendlies, although obviously their timing creates these much-discussed issues.

  9. footballer4ever - Jun 28, 2013 at 12:45 AM

    Let’s just hope that these friendlies or mini tournaments is just a barometer test so eventually in-season, real and meaningful European football can be brought to the states vs pre-season only.

  10. bellerophon30 - Jul 3, 2013 at 7:20 PM

    The main argument in favor of the MLS teams playing foreign teams is that if they don’t take some control over it, outside promoters will and cut MLS out completely. Jerry Jones scheduling a Champions League rematch isn’t out of the question, and that’s just one example. Better that MLS get their share of the booty.

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