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European powers to tour USA in World Football Challenge

ZambrottaIbrahimovic (AP)  

AC Milan, Inter Milan, Chelsea and Club America will take part in a round-robin tournament to be played this summer across the United States. The World Football Challenge will take some of the world's best teams to six different American cities, providing a special treat for soccer fans in some markets where international matches haven't been played in recent memory.

Here is a rundown of the schedule:

  • Sunday, July 19th- Club America vs. Inter Milan (Stanford Stadium, Palo Alto, California)

  • Tuesday, July 21st- Chelsea FC vs. Inter Milan (Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California)

  • Wednesday, July 22nd- AC Milan vs. Club America (Georgia Dome, Atlanta)

  • Friday, July 24th- AC Milan vs. Chelsea (M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore)

  • Sunday, July 26th- AC Milan vs. Inter Milan (Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass.)

  • Sunday, July 26th- Chelsea FC vs. Club America (Cowboy Stadium, Arlington, Texas)

All six matches will be shown live on the ESPN family of networks. Match tickets go on sale today at (that was the address provided by organizers, but at last check, the link was not working).

What do you think of this tour? Will you be attending any of the matches? Which player or team are you most looking forward to seeing? Will you skip these matches and save your money for World Cup qualifiers/Gold Cup/Confederations Cup?

Share your thoughts on the World Football Challenge in the comments section below.


  1. Most of you are fools. This is preseason training for these clubs. They are going ot be playing top stars for 45-90 minutes a match.

    If you’re a supporter of any team, you’ll be happy, and if you’re not, it is still a good experience.

  2. @Don: I’m sure you never have traveled outside the U.S. which is why you have so much scorn toward foreign clubs. I have no problem with these tours. I love MLS and the teams but I also love the history of European and South American squads. That is something that doesn’t exist here(maybe one day but not yet). This tour does nothing to help MLS and it isn’t set up to do so. Some of you people would be best to read “How Soccer Explains the World.” The world is global and these teams know they can exploit the largest market in the world. What do you think Mexico, England and Europe says when NFL hosts a game overseas? It’s just a “cash” grab for us as well in trying to exploit the league and an American sport. And people should learn that Club America, Boca Juniors and River Plate are a big deal in the Americas (South America that is). If more Americans understood and respected the history of the game and some of these clubs, you’d have more of a leg to stand on when debating Euro snobs. But for right now, MLS is a small league with a short history and not many fans. So go ahead and declare your independence. The rest of the world isn’t listening and doesn’t really care when they have quality clubs and we have teams like the Galaxy, RBNY and the Wizards.

  3. The sad thing is that while MLS and SUM are claimng poverty to RSL over who to pick for the 2009 MLS All Star match, someone goes out and brings some of the worlds best teams to the US.

    MLS and SUM pushed to bring up a Mexican team for the All Star match, RSL resisted and from most accounts the likely team to face the MLS side will be Valencia (6th place in La Liga).

    Don, both of your groups just got upstaged in a huge way, now what are you going to do about it? My bet is you will punk out and make more excuses, it is what you have done best for the last couple years on most topics. Get a set and use your connection, bring Barcelona to Salt Lake for the All Star match.


    I live 20 minutes south of DC. Just checked ticket prices for the July 24th game between Chelsea and AC Milan in Bmore. And I can get behind the goal in the corneron the lower level for a WOPPING 50 bucks, plus service fees, plus shipping.

    Screw that.

    I will watch it in HD from my home, grilling up some brats and slamming back some hops.

  5. Couldn’t care less about these pre-season friendlies. I frequently travel cross-country at relatively large personal expense for soccer, but this summer my money goes to WCQ, Gold Cup, and MLS. This can only appeal to pitiful eurosnobs and the people in Atlanta w/o a MLS team to support.

  6. @Don – yeah, this has advertising cash grab written all over it…from what I understand this tour is arranged outside of the influence of the MLS (from what I can tell anyway…anyone feel free to correct me if I’m wrong)…I guess this is a good test to see what the market really is for soccer in this country. I mean, 35 games (yes I’m totally exaggerating because I don’t want to count how many there really will be) in the course of a couple weeks? That is a lot of soccer (from MLS, to WCQ, to meaningless pre-season friendlies, to meaningless pre-season round robin tournaments).

    The only saving grace, as I’ve stated before, is that the games are being played in places that haven’t seen a game like this for quite some time (or ever). And of course, events like this always make a bid for the 2018 or 2022 world cup look even better.

  7. I’ll be very curious to see how a soccer field fits in the dome. If this is a chance for Blank to showcase Atlanta…or even the Dome as an at least temporary option for an MLS team here…I imagine they will look to bring in a temporary grass field or an unlined soccer field.

    I just don’t know if its really wide enough to be a good fit for soccer. Its very much a gridiron specific facility.

  8. What is the message in these tours in the middle of MLS season, WCQ, and regional competitions. The message is scorn. Scorn for our leagues. Scorn for our clubs. Scorn for our national team. Just listen to Capello when he heaps scorn on us and forces Beckham to choose between honoring his contract with LA and losing his chance to play for England. Listen to the comments from AC Milan administrators about our game in the U.S. It is time for a new Declaration Of Independence. You are welcome to come when we hold the World Cup, but otherwise stay out of the USA unless you come to play our national team and our clubs. If you want to play a Mexican team, go to Mexico. If you want to play an Italian team, go to Italy.

  9. My feeling is that this is somewhat of a money grab. You’ve got a summer choke-full of soccer with WCQ’s and the confederations cup in June, then the Gold Cup in July. Are these teams even going to bring their “A” teams. Seems like ESPN and CAA are giving a big middle finger to the Gold Cup and CONCACAF.

  10. @Jonathan – I am happy that the tour is going to Atlanta and other spots that aren’t usually the target markets for these trips in the past.

    I really used to dig these tours because they were “once in a lifetime” events. But when “once in a lifetime” happens every
    single summer it just doesn’t hold the excitement it once did.

  11. All my fellow Atlantans have gotten it right. This is a big deal for us because we don’t have a team, this is a chance to see good soccer, and, MOST IMPORTANTLY, show that “Hey, maybe this could work there”

    The song to be sung during the game is to the tune of that “Now bring us some figgy pudding” christmas song:

    “Now bring us an mls team,

    Now bring us an mls team,

    Now bring us an mls team,

    Would you please Arthur?”

    Seriously, we need to make that happen.

  12. I can’t believe these european clubs would play on flubber in all of these places. Outside of the Linc and Rose Bowl I believe all of these stadiums have field turf. I know they can put grass in gillette they have done it before, and who knows about Jerry Jones’ Cowboy Cathedral, but whos going to foot the bill for putting grass in all the other places?

  13. Is it just me, or are all the big clubs in the world making terribly bloated schedules for themselves these days? While they certainly will be making a quick dollar out of it, and hope to plant seeds of fandom for the future, it can’t be very good for the players to do all these extra tours which are totally meaningless.

    That said, I’d definitely be interested in the Baltimore match, but my money’s going to the CONCACAF Gold Cup match in Philly.

  14. Erik nailed it. I will be doing everything in my power to see the Baltimore match. So I should knock this and just support my American team which is a 2nd-tier British farm team? How is this a BAD thing??? I assume those that don’t like it aren’t going. Good. I’ll be having a nice time with it.

  15. For those of us in Georgia who never get treated to something like this, it will be an event.

    I see alot of negative comments from people on here, but keep in mind that you actually have TEAMS in your cities and we have NOTHING now.

    Got my tix already – i am sure it will be sold out.

  16. they should have bring manchester united and Barcalona with them,we could have two whole weeks of gloryhunters……woooo hoooo….not

  17. I understand the folks that say they would choose a MLS match over one of these. But considering I live about 900 miles from the closest MLS town, I have no problem attending the America-Milan game. And btw, America has a HUGE following here in the Atlanta area.

  18. honestly, i’d attend any mls match over any of these. i probably won’t even pay attention to this thing.

    does it irritate anyone else that they are having this “tour” in the middle of MLS seaason? these things are past thier time.

    and feel sort of insulting.

  19. yeah…i’m not a huge fan of these tours anymore. They used to seem very exciting to me, but I really want to see the MLS. I live in MN so all I have is the usl-1 Thunder. Still, I’m finally getting season tickets for them this year…because you never know, someday maybe we’re the next Seattle, Portland, or Vancouver.

  20. I will probably attend the Palo Alto game, and will watch the rest on TV, time permitting.

    There may be some value in this games in introducing the game to the unwashed masses, so to speak:)) Just kidding. I am reading David Goldblatt’s History of Football and these games are similar to the games that initially helped the game spready beyond Great Britain.

  21. BTW, what are the prices going to be like? Exorbitant, I’d bet. At least based on the last time Chelsea/AC Milan came over to play.

  22. And the winner of the unintentional comedic post of the day, is Nick. With this gem.

    “Why, again, is Club America playing? Surely, if this event is for world-class teams, a team that buys it’s championship every year shouldn’t be involved.”

    When the other teams involved are Internazionale, AC Milan and Chelsea (freaking) FC!!!


  23. I would go to watch a live match if it were where I live, even if it’s an exhibition. Watching them practice the day before or after is usually better than the game. However, I have no interest in watching on TV. Give me a game that means something, I’ll be watching and supporting the MLS.

  24. I’ll be skipping them. I prefer to go to games which mean something, whether they’re USA games, MLS, or leagues abroad. At the same time, I think it’s a good thing and will bring more soccer exposure to America. Obviously Club America isn’t in the same tier as the others but it’s cool that they’re there…brings in Mexican league fans, casual Euro fans, and the rest

  25. I think the games in the United States are a great idea for not only the respective clubs, but the MLS and soccer in the US too. Having high profile teams play here and on TV raises people’s awareness of the game. They will go to see these teams, and it could be their first soccer game ever. These people, even if it is 10% of everyone who views the games, then may decide they enjoy watching the games, and when they realize they have an MLS team in their town, they will go check it out. American’s love rooting for their home teams, it just takes some big events to get their attention.

    I wish Liverpool would make a trip stateside though…


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