Soccer Fan’s Guide of What to Watch This Summer

Now that England has been knocked out of Euro 2012, what are you going to do with the rest of your summer? After all, there’s 53 days to go until the 2012-13 Premier League season kicks off on August 18.

Have no fear. Here’s our guide of the dates to mark on your calendar of what to watch this summer:

1. Pre-season friendlies (July 18-August 1).

Chelsea and Aston Villa kick off their 2012 US summer tours with friendlies in the United States on July 18 — just 22 days away. In addition to Chelsea and Aston Villa playing matches in the United States, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Swansea and Stoke City will be playing friendlies across the United States through August 1.

If you can’t make many of the games, several of them will be on television — across ESPN and FOX Soccer in the United States. Plus, you can always watch Real Madrid vs AC Milan in New York City on August 8.

2. Summer Olympics (July 25-August 11).

There’s 29 days to go before the soccer begins in the 2012 Summer Olympics, held in England. The women’s soccer tournament begins on July 25, which will feature the US women’s Olympic team, while the men kick off on July 26 featuring, of course, the Great Britain men’s Olympic team featuring Craig Bellamy and many others, including presumably David Beckham. The soccer tournaments at the Olympics run through August 11.

3. Europa League (August 2-onwards).

Liverpool will begin its Europa League campaign on August 2 in the third-qualifying round of the tournament. Newcastle United will join in the next round, the playoffs for Europa League, while Tottenham Hotspur will enter in the group stage. In the United States, FOX Soccer will be showing the Europa League beginning this season.

4. Community Shield (August 12).

One day after the soccer finals in the 2012 Olympics, the 2012-13 season will traditionally begin with the Community Shield, which will be played at Villa Park between Manchester City and Chelsea. The match will be televised live on television worldwide including the United States on FOX Soccer.

5. England vs Italy friendly (August 15).

Three days before the 2012-13 Premier League season begins, England plays Italy in a friendly in Switzerland, pre-arranged before Euro 2012 kicked off. The match will be played as preparation before England’s 2014 World Cup campaign starts in September, but I’m sure many England footballers and fans will be seeking revenge in this match on August 15.

With Euro 2012 concluding on Sunday, July 1 with the final from Ukraine, there’s a gap until the Premier League clubs begin their preseason friendlies on July 18. I’m sure there’ll be a ton of Premier League transfer news during those weeks, as well as other sports such as tennis (the Wimbledon Championships end July 8), but there’s also Major League Soccer, NASL and USL leagues in the United States. Of course, it’s also a good time to enjoy the summer, recharge the batteries and head to the beach.

29 thoughts on “Soccer Fan’s Guide of What to Watch This Summer”

  1. Hi Gaffer, kind of off topic but are there going to be any new leagues on Fox Soccer Plus this year to fill in the loss of the French and Italian leagues?

    1. I don’t think so. FOX has so many leagues that they cover that there’ll be plenty of matches shown to replace the ones they lost.

      The Gaffer

    1. i would rather watch paint dry.i don’t know how you watch EPL CL or EUROS and then try to watch MLS just can’t do it would rather watch replays of past matches.

      1. I stumbled upon the Timbers v Sounders match the other day and it wasn’t half bad. Skill better than I had seen in the past and the atmosphere was great even though the Sounders were down 2-1. I moved on before the end, but might have a look-see again. :-)

      2. i screwed up i meant to say after watching EPL CL and EUROS how can you watch the MLS.not a fan of MLS fan of EPL CL and EUROS.

      3. I don’t think MLS come close to the epl, and I would bet 95% of championship sides would dispatch of most if not all MLS sides in a truely competitive scenario and not a friendly.

        I am fortunate to have an MLS team not far from me, and, I have to say they play attractive football, it’s not at the pace of the epl but the quality of the football is very good from a technical sense, similar in style to Spurs and Swansea.

        They are a partner / sister club for Spurs, the San Jose earthquakes, they also have a Spurs player on loan, Simon Dawkins who is very very technically proficient, and is having a great 2nd season in the MLS, and a major Parkin their success. I wouldn’t mind seeing Wondolowski have a loan spell at spurs in the MLS off season. I think he has real potential.

        It’s not the fastest league just yet, but that will improve over time hopefully, I love the game of football, coaching, watching and playing, so having a quality MLS team that plays quality football 40 mins in the car away is great.

        I do smile to my self when I’m at the game and listen to the San Jose earthquake “ultra fans” sing “oh when the quakes go marching in” in the exact same way we do as spurs fans.

        Nothing wrong with that, I guess, it did take me quite a while to come to terms with pilchering of the songs, but its flattering, and I have to say an enjoyable experience at the game.

        As long as the earthquakes continue to play the technical football they do, I will continue to enjoy it.

  2. Stop hating on the MLS…nothing develops if you don’t support it.

    Also, if you need stuff to do this summer and you are stateside, GO to some of the summer international friendlies being played here stateside.

  3. Typical Euro-snob mentality trash. MLS is young and not that bad. EPL was garbage too at one point. Believe it or not Eurosnobs, there are lower levels in English soccer that is very bad and is still supported. Many English coaches and players have came to MLS and said that MLS is on par if not better than the championship in England. But im sure as most of you who call yourself fans only support Man U, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool or just the top in general in England…..Joke!

    1. When was the Premier League garbage, einstein? You have no idea what you’re talking about.

      The Gaffer

      1. Im sure the league was not world class 17 years into its existence…Einstein….More “England is better than the world so we cant watch domestic soccer garbage” from the gaffer!

        1. The Premier League is only 20 years old — and has been one of the best leagues in the world, if not the best, since it formed in 1992. What evidence do you base your opinion on? How long have you been following the Premier League, if at all?

          I’m all for people watching MLS. But personally, I only watch the top quality leagues from around the world, so since there’s no MLS team near me (the closest one is 1,000 miles away, and I live in the United States), MLS falls way down on my list of leagues that I watch. The Premier League is lightyears ahead of MLS.

          The Gaffer

          1. The top half of the table may be light years ahead but the rest i dont buy. You cant compare the two. Top gflight English soccer has been around a longer than MLS and with no salary cap.

            1. Have you watched the teams in the bottom half of the Premier League? Clubs like Swansea, Norwich, Sunderland, Stoke, etc, etc, would beat most MLS teams during a competitive season (summer friendlies don’t count since they’re not competitive).

              The Gaffer

          2. And I agree on both points…EPL and Europe as a whole has a better quality of play…that’s kind of a ‘dup’ point tho.

            But again…since we are lucky enough to have a league in the US to watch, just do it for the fun of it. There is a lot of growth to be had and the MLS is making strides where NASL lost out and with a few tweaks to the game, the MLS is actually starting to MAKE MONEY as opposed to losing money, so it may not be too long when it gets that ‘European quality’ that people complain is lacking.

            One other thing to consider, with the demographics changing in the US to a larger Hispanic population, many of whom like to watch regardless of the quality, there’s no reason why MLS can’t succeed.

    2. When you need paint to tell the defenders where to line up and where to spot the football sorry that is not for me.the team i cheer for are in the Championship league.your mls Champion would have a hard time staying up in the Championship.if you like mls knock yourself out and stay the EPL is garbage shows your just a muppet

      1. What I meant was the EPL was not always great especially when it first arrived. All this shows me is that your just a poser along with the rest of the wana be English type who only watch the EPL when the topl teams play.

          1. I respect that more than most because we all know most EPL fans only support the top teams and are quick to hate on MLS. Now clearly the level of play from top EPL teams to MLS is night and day. But bottom of the EPL to the Championship there are still some good teams but the quality is on par with MLS. Ex coach of the Colorado Rapids went scouting in the Championship and said it himself that MLS in many ways is better……My point is that all the EPL lovers and MLS haters out there really are not looking at it the same way.

  4. I think if you took the NYRB, Sporting KC, DC United, San Jose and pitted them agains the current bottom feeders or recently relegated Bolton, Wolverhampton and Blackburn and or the Blackpools and Readings of the world you would end up with much more competitive games than many would like to admit. Would the MLS teams win consistently…I don’t know that would be a true statement now. However, one thing I think is very plausible to say is that the MLS part of that group is looking at far more favorable financial conditions in the upcoming years than their up-n-down counterparts in my mythical grouping.

    I ran into Darren Fletcher last summer at the Wynn in Las Vegas…had a real nice conversation with him about soccer in general and what he thought the product was like in the US. He stated that over the last few years the product and competition has grown tremendously here stateside.

  5. I am not a follower of the MLS since there is no team anywhere near me. However, I don’t see the point in Americans hating on the league. The USMNT will be all the better for having a strong, competitive domestic league in which young players can reasonably aspire to play and make a living. That will attract more top athletes to the sport and improve the game overall in the States.

    Soccer in the US, in its most recent incarnation (MLS), is in far better shape than it has ever been before. For the first time we have a stable league, with soccer specific stadiums filled with enthusiastic fans. The game, while certainly not up to EPL standards, is improving all the time. EPL teams now at least scout MLS for likely prospects. That is a very good sign.

    If you want the USMNT to be a factor in the world of international soccer then you have to wish the best for MLS whether you watch it or not. Hating on it is truly counterproductive.

    1. I find my first sentence a little crazy. How is it, then, that I follow the EPL? Hmmm. At any rate, the rest of it stands :-)

  6. I think the MLS is a great thing for US pro soccer and will continue to evolve and grow and some day down the line will be a top tiered int’l league that competes for the best players in their prime.

    However, the level of quality in the Barclays Premier League is orders of magnitude above the MLS. It is not just the starting IX we are talking about here, but the entire squads the clubs have for training too that gives them the edge. Many of these teams could field B squads that would be be very competitive in the MLS. To be fair, I think the MLS teams would have a difficult time competing in the Championship at the moment as well. This is not a knock on the MLS or its players, but just my opinion after watching a lot of these teams play recently.

    For comparison, I always look at Celtic and Rangers in the SPL. I realize that Rangers are now out of business, but since the start of the Premiership, both Celtic & Rangers have struggled mightily in Europe when compared to the English clubs. It is due to playing in a weaker league and not being able to secure top talent in its prime. I know that both Celtic and Rangers were each in a Europe League final in the last decade but they both lost and neither has ever done very well in the Champions League, especially in away fixtures.

    I think MLS is a stronger league top to bottom than the SPL and this will only increase with the demise of Rangers and the necessary eventuality that Celtic move to a different league or face irrelevance itself.

    1. It’s really this simple…the EPL is to England what the NBA is to us…it would be the same thing if England decided to assemble a basketball league and people piss on it because it was poor in quality compared to the American product.

      When you have a sport that has been entrenched into a culture and is the lifeblood of sports fans, of course it’s got to have quality!

  7. It’s crazy to compare the EPL to the MLS. One has been around forever (the Premier league was once called the first division, same league different names) and the MLS hasn’t been around that long (even if you count the defunct NASL). Name any league in the world that has been around as long as the MLS that has the same quality as the EPL. None comes to mind. Personally, I can’t think of one that even has the same quality as the MLS even though I admit to not knowing much about all the leagues in the world and when they were formed.

    By the way, I used to watch the old English first division, when Liverpool won all their 18 titles (oh, it seems like another lifetime), and the quality in some of those years wasn’t that good compared to other leagues in the world. So English football was not always great to watch. It may have been popular but that’s not the same as being of high quality. In time and with proper support from fans and corporate sponsors the MLS will get better. Whether or not it will rival the quality of the EPL is a moot point (no league outside Europe rivals any of the European leagues even if the quality is there, like Argentina or Brazil) but will it be good enough to watch. Only time will tell.

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