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World Football Challenge back for 2012

Chelsea (Getty Images)

The World Football Challenge is returning for another slate of international club friendlies across North America.

As of now, the only matches officially part of the WFC are Chelsea's clash with the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field on July 18 and Liverpool's meeting with Toronto FC at Rogers Centre on July 21. The rest of the games will happen in the following weeks up until August 11.

Tottenham, AC Milan, Roma, Aston Villa and Schalke are other clubs who have been confirmed for summer friendlies in the United States, but none of them were included in MLS' official announcement of the WFC on Tuesday.

Last year, Real Madrid captured the WFC ahead of clubs such as Manchester United, Manchester City, Juventus, Barcelona, Chivas de Guadalajara and Club America.

Are you excited about another slate of summer friendlies? Satisfied with the quality of European clubs already scheduled to come to America? Did you attend WFC games last year, and do you hope to do the same in 2012?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Any Euro stars that sign with MLS will be of the Henry-Keane-Beckham variety: past their prime and looking to maximize their earning potential for their advanced age. The way to improve MLS quality is to bring in the best players available from the Americas.

  2. Is there another league in the world that plays friendlies against big clubs during the middle of their regular season when they should be chasing playoff spots?

  3. MLS can either:
    1) Switch to an international calender (with a Danish style long winter break) and really hype these up as pre-season friendlies. OR
    2) Keep the calender the way it is and cancel these stupid midseason friendlies. It absolutely destroys the legitimacy of the MLS regular season to play these simultaneously with regular season games. The vast majority of American soccer fans do not take MLS serious as a league not because the quality of play is poor, but because of stupid crap like midseason friendlies that are given precedence over regular season games.

  4. Drew, you make a fair point here and below in response to my post — and I’m not saying I agree with dgoshilla that we need to “turn our back on Europe”, but I think you’re the exception rather than the rule. The vast majority of the fans that go to these matches year in and year out DO NOT support their MLS team. They do NOT support the game in the United States. Many of them are not even USMNT fans even if they were born here because they don’t think we’re a really soccer country and have no interest in building the USA into one. To me, these aren’t real soccer fans, they’re poseurs with an identity crisis. And again, I’m not saying this is everyone — certainly not you. But they’re out there, and you can always find them at a meaningless Bayern-Juventus friendly in Philadelphia, but you won’t ever find them standing with the Sons of Ben.

    If these folks want to give SUM their money, fine. But I’m not an ATM machine for big clubs. The product they put on the field does not remotely match dollar values they charge for it.

  5. Who is complaining about losing? Hell, most of the big WFC matches don’t even have MLS teams in them. I am not afraid to have MLS teams play these games. *I just don’t care about them at all.* I mean, its basically not even about the match at some level anyway, right? Most people show up to Chelsea-Roma matches wearing St. Pauli and River Plate or whatever-random-club team-that-isn’t playing’s replica shirts. Its like a soccer fashion show/convention anyway. Its not about what is on the pitch because what is on the pitch is pointless. Exhibition is right.

    But if you think for one second that MLS is scheduling these games to “challenge themselves” as a league against Chelsea or whoever in exhibition games you are incredibly naive. If SUM was not making incredible amounts of cash off these games, I assure you that they would NEVER happen. That is why they are being played. And yes, that is why Barca’s basketball team plays the Lakers (Or more to the point, why the Lakers play Barca’s basketball team).

  6. I think there’s market saturation though DJ, at some point. Or at least the risk of it. I live in DC and so am always within driving distance of one of these matches, and I thought it was cool several years ago, but at this point I have not one #### to give.

  7. How do you expect to convince stars to come to MLS and increase the quality of the league without giving them the experience of playing a game here in front of sell-out crowds?

  8. The Chelsea v Milan match is set, still some “t”‘s to cross on the DC United v Juve match. But, it’s definately at FedEx field, ot RFK. They are July 28, same day as Tottenham v Liverpool in Baltimore.

  9. yawn

    I imagine this makes money for MLS clubs and SUM, but I find all these tours and friendlies really played out and boring.

  10. The european clubs know where the big bucks are hiding……its in the USA & China. the US is a mostly untapped market except for us diehards.
    Theyve reached their cash ceiling in europe. so expect more friendlies…

  11. When Barcas basketball team plays the Lakers its not about winning or losing its about giving their fans a chance to see the best in the world. Are we going to lose yes but that’s not the point the point is to play the best in the world. Reserves or not challenge yourself as a league. We as MLS fans are to dam whiney. If other leagues do it why can’t we. Besides there will be more people at these WFC games then the MLS only ones. And who knows buy playing in these games you may draw more fans in the US or abroad.

  12. You’re obviously entitled to your opinion, but I believe you are exaggerating quite a bit with your characterization of teams inundated with reserve players, and that these players are only marginally better than MLS level players. From my experience both are false. Yes, I would have liked to see xavi and inaiesta play for Barca last summer, but getting to watch Tiago was still pretty fun.

    Also, what would have fox soccer channel and GolTv show all day? How many day games are there each weekend in the MLS? I’m not sure how you can complain about the availability of top matches every weekend, which air in ADDITION to MLS games.

  13. 2 of the “Big 3” will NOT be coming to the U.S. this summer:

    Manchester United will be in Asia

    Barcelona will stay in Europe


    Don’t know yet about Real Madrid.

    The Special One likes summer training at UCLA, but MLS/SUM is getting a little tired of having Real Madrid in LA each summer and would like some variety.

    Besides, the Special One appears to be on his way out of Madrid anyway. He will resign if RM were to win the Champions League. He might be fired if RM were to lose.

  14. I disagree. Growing the fan base of soccer in general will help the MLS. Bringing these European teams to the US helps with that. Just because I love watching these teams play doesn’t detract at all from whether I make it out to a Fire game.

  15. One more thought: This is like Kim Kardashian charging her thousands of dollars in appearance fees to go to people’s Sweet 16 parties or whatever.

    Yes, she was at your party. But no, she’s not your friend. She has real parties that she goes to with her real friends every other weekend of the year. In fact, she sees you as vaguely pathetic. And you are.

    A little over the top, but just how I see it. I don’t mean to bash folks that have been to these matches and enjoyed them.

  16. I’ve been told there will be a DC double header, likely AT RFK! DCU vs. Juve, then Chelsea vs Milan this will count as one of the “special games” for the season ticket holders, my guy wasnt clear as to if this was a part of a national tourney or just two friendlies. Take it for whatever its worth…

  17. No, I’m not excited by the idea of paying 150 bucks a ticket to see a glorified scrimmage between two European teams in their offseasons (heavily inundated by young reserve players that aren’t substantially better than MLS level players — how else do people think MLS teams keep these games close?), just for the hope of grabbing a photo of Drogba warming up with my iphone camera from the third deck like a school girl at a Beiber concert. GREAT! Another chance to see the same clubs that get shoved down my throat every time I put FSC or ESPN or GolTV on any given saturday during the European season, only this time invading my MLS season.

    I’d rather use that money to see 4 real meaningful matches by my local club as they chase for a playoff spot.

    Just another cash grab for the almighty Eurosnob dollar. Hey, you asked how I felt.

  18. Saw the Real vs. Union game last year it was amazing. Slightly depressing that even though the stadium and game was in philly the stadium was awash in white. The SoBs though did a hell of a job representing Philly. I still chuckle at MacMath denying a Ronalado free kickm Marfan’s chip and Jimmy Mcglaughlin (not yet on the roster at this time) continually shutting down/fouling Arbeloa and then shrugging his shoulders and saying im just a kid to the ref when Arbeloa complains

  19. It’s always fun to watch these exhibitions but I will stick with MLS games when spending my limited budget on tickets to soccer games.

  20. I was at America/Juventus at Citi Field here in NYC and it was a fantastic friendly. Great enviorment, large mexican community came out to support America, but Juventus also draw a very sizeable Italian (as well as other fans) alike. Im hoping another friendly gets set up for the NYC area. It was a fun time!

  21. I really wish we could halt these friendlies. The sooner we turn our back on Europe as fans the sooner everyone will fully accept MLS as our own.


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