Which World Cup 2014 Stars Will Be Coming to the US This Summer?
The excitement of the upcoming 2014 World Cup final is somewhat tempered by the knowledge that the tournament, which so many anticipated for so long, is almost over.
It will be nearly four years before another World Cup match is played after Germany and Argentina square off. As with the Olympics, what makes the World Cup special is also what makes it hard to say goodbye to.
For new American soccer fans, the end of this World Cup might feel particularly sudden. Just as this recent discovery burst into their consciousness, it's about to go away. But take heart.
Many of the game's biggest stars will make appearances in the United States in the coming weeks; a few will be excused after playing with their national sides deep into this World Cup.
The vast majority of those luminaries who do make the trip will be taking part in the Guinness International Champions Cup (ICC), but others will arrive with their clubs to play one-off friendlies.
Either way, here are some of the prominent clubs coming to America in the next month. These powerhouse soccer enterprises will bring with them some of the most recognizable names of the 2014 World Cup.
Six clubs finished ahead of Manchester United in the 2013-14 Premier League standings. But it isn't Everton or Tottenham Hotspur that the people want to see.
It's always United.
Louis van Gaal will lead the Red Devils on a jaunt through the United States that will start in Los Angeles, where United and Major League Soccer's L.A. Galaxy will play a July 23 friendly at the Rose Bowl.
After that, United are entered in the ICC. Steven Goff discussed their itinerary for The Washington Post:
United will then play at least three matches in the International Champions Cup: AS Roma on July 26 in Denver, Inter Milan on July 29 at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., and Real Madrid on Aug. 2 at sold-out Michigan Stadium. By winning their group, the Red Devils would advance to the ICC final Aug. 4 in Miami.
If Manchester United are the worst Premier League club in the ICC (and based on their 2013-14 record, they surely are), then Manchester City are the best.
The Sky Blues claimed their second Premier League trophy in three seasons this past May. City have four North American dates set, beginning with a July 23 friendly against Major League Soccer's Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas.
After that, City have three ICC dates set:
- AC Milan at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on July 27.
- Liverpool at Yankee Stadium in New York City on July 30.
- Olympiacos at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Aug. 2.
As befits a championship side like City, several of their players featured prominently in this past World Cup.
Sergio Aguero, Martin Demichelis and Pablo Zabaleta all still have a chance with Argentina. Vincent Kompany (Belgium) and Fernandinho (Brazil) both enjoyed largely successful runs through the draw.
Unquestionably, the one player most Liverpool fans (and casual fans, for that matter) would most like to watch is not coming to America this summer.
Jones also had a quote from Suarez: "It is with a heavy heart that I leave Liverpool for a new life and new challenges in Spain. Both me and my family have fallen in love with this club and with the city."
Despite the loss of Suarez, Liverpool will still carry several big-name players for their July 23 friendly at Fenway Park in Boston against AS Roma and their subsequent ICC matches with Olympiacos (July 27, Soldier Field, Chicago), Manchester City (July 30, Yankee Stadium, New York City) and AC Milan (Aug. 2, Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina).
Steven Gerrard, Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana had a forgettable World Cup with England, but Simon Mignolet's Belgium had a better time of it. All will be on hand when Liverpool tour the U.S.
Arsenal will make only one appearance in the United States this summer, but it is a fairly significant one, per Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes:
Arsenal is playing an exhibition against MLS’s New York Red Bulls July 26 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. It marks Arsenal’s first trip to the U.S. in 25 years. The game carries extra sentiment for Gunners fans since the Red Bulls’ captain, striker Thierry Henry, is Arsenal’s all-time leading goal scorer from his eight-year stint with the club from 1999 to 2007.
The Gunners saw quite a few of their players feature in this World Cup, including Santi Cazorla (Spain) and Olivier Giroud (France).
More notably, though, Arsenal supporters will be able to cheer on German internationals Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski and Mesut Ozil in the World Cup final.
They'd better, since the prospect of any of those German players appearing for an Arsenal friendly 13 days later in New Jersey seems remote at best.
Arsenal have a few German stars. Bayern Munich have far more than a few.
Bayern have Arjen Robben (Netherlands), too, but the list of significant German internationals Bayern boast borders on the absurd: Jerome Boateng, Philipp Lahm, Mario Goetze, Toni Kroos, Thomas Mueller, Manuel Neuer...good heavens.
Per the Bayern website, the German superclub will play Club Deportivo Guadalajara (aka Chivas) at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, on Aug. 1. Six days later, Bayern will toy with, er, play a group of Major League Soccer All-Stars at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon.
It is fair to wonder how many, if any, of Bayern's biggest stars will play in the States after their World Cup spilled into mid-July. For that matter, some or all of them may skip the trip altogether.
Reigning Champions League holders Real Madrid are also in this season's ICC.
You are familiar with Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, right? Well, he was hobbled for much of Portugal's ill-fated World Cup bid, and it remains to be seen whether he will participate in any meaningful way in Real Madrid's North American travels.
It matters, but it also sort of doesn't matter because Real Madrid have plenty of star power behind Ronaldo.
Karim Benzema (France), Luka Modric (Croatia), Angel Di Maria (Argentina) and Xabi Alonso (Spain) are just some of the backup singers to Ronaldo's lead vocal at Real Madrid. And Gareth Bale is still on the team, even if he could not carry Wales to the World Cup alone.
The Spanish giant's ICC begins with a match against Inter Milan on July 26 at California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, California. After that, Real Madrid will take on AS Roma at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas on July 29.
Real Madrid's last group-stage match in the ICC will happen on Aug. 2 against Manchester United in Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Also known as the Big House, the stadium will seat over 100,000 spectators and has been sold out for this match since April.