American soccer fans, fresh from the passion of the Copa America Centenario, and excited by the Euro 2016 knockout rounds, can continue the feeling by catching some EPL training games in person this summer. Many of England’s top-flight teams are coming to American stadiums as part of their pre-season schedule.
First to arrive will be West Ham – they play the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field on July 5th. The Sounders home stadium was buzzing just a few weeks ago when 47,322 fans saw the U.S. men’s national team defeat Ecuador in the Copa America quarterfinal.
Crystal Palace comes next, playing a series of games against American and Canadian opponents. They will meet MLS side Philadelphia Union on July 13th at Talen Energy Stadium, then head to Cincinnati on the 16th to take on USL club FC Cincinnati. The Cincinnati match will take place at Nippert Stadium, also home to the Cincinnati University’s Bearcats football team. Palace will end their North American tour taking on the Whitecaps at Vancouver’s BC Place on July 19th.
It’s also possible to see Premiere League teams at some smaller venues. On July 20th, Minnesota United will host newly promoted AFC Bournemouth at their 10,000 seat National Sports Center pitch. Orlando City will face Stoke City on July 27th at the Titan Soccer Complex, the 3,500 seat stadium used by their USL affiliate.
Southampton is not only coming to play in America, but also to train here. In addition to playing a game on July 15th in Baltimore, they also plan to hold a training camp in the city from July 10th-17th. The club recently signed a seven season deal with Under Armour for kit design and production, and the club will be training and playing in Baltimore, with yet to be determined location and opponent, as a bi-product of that deal.
Some of the biggest Premiere League clubs will also be gracing American pitches this summer. Arsenal will be the opponent for this year’s MLS All Star Game to be held July 28th at the new Avaya Stadium in San Jose. The MLS All Stars beat Tottenham 2-1 in Colorado last year, and in 2014 beat Bayern Munich by the same score in Portland.
League champions Leicester City will be playing one game here, taking on PSG at the StubHub Center in California on July 30th – part of the International Champions Cup. The best story in all of global football last year, the Foxes are unaccustomed to such lofty competition, but need to get used to it as participants in next year’s Champions League.
Perennial powerhouses Chelsea and Liverpool, teams with great American fan bases, will both be playing multiple games here, too. The two will meet each other at the Rose Bowl on July 27th.
Chelsea will also play Real Madrid at Michigan Stadium. In 2014, a game between Manchester United and Real Madrid at the stadium drew more than 109,000 fans, the most ever to watch a soccer game in the United States. Chelsea will also take on AC Milan at the new U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, the debut event in the highly anticipated venue.
Liverpool will also play three games here this summer. First up is Italian giant Roma at Busch Stadium in Saint Louis on August 1st. In addition to the Chelsea match at the Rose Bowl, the Reds will also play a second game in California, versus AC Milan at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on July 30th.
Though pre-season matches may not provide the technical quality of regular season matches, or the passion of an international tournament, they still provide an opportunity for American Premier League fans.
Though key players are often rested, and the atmosphere is more friendly than competitive, it is a chance to see young players and managers, to measure depth in the squads, and perhaps most importantly, a chance for America fans to make a firsthand connection to their favorite Premiere League club. For the passionate fan, there’s nothing like seeing their team in person.
Image of Chelsea vs. New York Red Bulls, 2015, via flickr.com via Creative Commons license.